13 April, 2021

Rollercoaster In Hell

Electioneering is no fun, fending off sabotaging rivals and disappointed allies

Sandeep Adhwaryu
Rollercoaster In Hell
What is it really like to contest a Lok Sabha election? After accompanying an eminent contestant as a friend, not as a journalist, I'd describe a typical day in the life of an election candidate as a rollercoaster ride in hell.

It turned out to be an action-packed day, one in which we came face to face with many ugly facets of life—corruption, intimidation, hassles, tension, disruption. It began with us discovering that the reasonably priced hotel we were booked in didn't have rooms. They were taken over by a rival party that rules the state. Booth capturing clearly comes way after hotel capturing in this game! After much fuming, an alternate hotel was found. Then, an early morning padayatra was delayed by an income-tax official who slyly threatened a raid unless bribes were paid. There was no question of paying bribes, income-tax raids would yield nothing, but nobody wanted bad publicity. So rather than confrontation, campaign managers took the path of diplomacy. It was a sickening, arduous, time-consuming task to dislodge the parasite.

The income-tax sleazeball was...

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