The voting day has finally arrived at Chennai.. it is a long wait for the people of Tamilnadu over the last 1 month. I was just thinking about the number of times I have voted in my life in either Assembly or Parliamentary elections. As per my count, I had 7 opportunities to vote since I got the right to vote. I dont think I voted in all the seven elections. I voted in 1996, 1998, 2004, 2006 elections. I am not sure about 1999 and 2001 elections. I think I had my vote in Tuticorin but I was working in Chennai at that time and didnt manage to go and vote.
But I remember voting for the first time in 1996, just after my college at SDA School, Tuticorin. It was a very nervous experience!!?? I waited in the queue for 10 minutes or so, then I went into the voting room. I had no idea how the process happens. I gave the name and the voter slip to the polling officer, and he identified me on the voters list. Then he read out the name for the booth agents to mark it in their list as well. I understand that by reading out the names, he is giving an opportunity for the booth agents to object if the person is impersonating. The Polling Officer tore and gave me a slip and asked me to go to and stamp the ballot. Though I was decided to which party to vote, I took some time to go through what all is given in the ballot sheet. Then I stamped my vote and folded it and took it to the ballot box and dropped it. I really felt very happy that I could vote and decide the fate of this country.
Over the years, now ballot paper has been replaced by electronic voting machines. I did vote through EVM in 2006 but I felt something was missing. I prefer ballot paper to EVM.
Coming back to Elections 2009, I am going to vote tomorrow morning pretty early as I have to come to office. Voting early morning has its own charm because the polling officers are fresh, the party activists are enthusiastic to help you and the atmosphere is festive. As the day progresses, everybody becomes tired and it becomes a mundane exercise. In my constituency, the two contestants are T R Balu of DMK and A K Murthy of PMK? Want to make any guesses to whom I am going to vote?