Amidst the ongoing political drama and Modi Sarkaar slogans, kindled by the need to select a topic for our special assembly, some of us from class 12 A decided to hold an election in the school. The idea was pitched to our own class first, and the excitement spread like forest fire. The idea was simple – 3 parties, 3 leaders, campaigning and voting. For the main assembly, what’s better than a face off among the three party leaders!
Every one of us got into the preparations. Like always, time was an expensive luxury. But we were determined to put up a good show. We divided the class into 4 groups, the three parties - Bhajipav, BAAP, and Cornflakes (I’m sure you can see the pun) and an Election Commission. The excitement at the start was tremendous, but as time passed, we realized that things weren't that easy.
Our goal was to make other students aware of the election process. The EC laid down a code of conduct, which the parties were determined to violate. The debate for the assembly was prepared. Through the process, the leaders realized a great truth - politics isn't easy. Even making false promises isn't easy. The scrutiny by the opposition is indeed tough to handle. Moreover, the media! Media is one huge problem in itself.
As the days passed, the parties got ready for the campaigning. With all sorts of slogans and promises in mind, we set out, with the EC always behind our backs. We were all around the school, in the corridors, in the classes, on the terrace, going to students and begging for votes. The students were bribed with chips, and the teachers with fancy cards! Speeches were narrated in each class, trying to get the most attention from the students. The EC then went around with our high-tech voting machines…smartphones! You do have an app for everything!
The fun ended here. Now was the time to be serious. The final assembly was near, and we had to yet script the debate. This was the crux of the whole idea. This is where we open the students’ eyes to the ongoing issues and debates. The leaders now had to become the actual leaders they were imitating. We researched day and night about our respective parties, following the news and discussing the political issues and views among ourselves, with our parents and teachers. What issues to take? What questions to put forth? The task was difficult. After a lot of input from our teachers, we finalized a script.
Feeling like real, kurta-clad politicians, we took charge of the stage. The debate began and the satires were well received by the active audience. But most intriguing were the students’ responses in the following group discussion. Should we compromise a clean government for a youth government? Are the freebies offered by the political parties to lure the poor into voting justified? There were varying mindsets and opinions on many such questions, which got a chance to be voiced out in the assembly.
On the whole, the experience was a mind opener. The healthy debates among ourselves, discussing political parties, going to the depth of an issue, reading about the allegations and speeches of the leaders was indeed fun. We learnt a lot about the working of the Election Commission. It was a hard time managing 700 students; imagine a country with 400 million voters! What can be a better ending than – Jai Hind!
- XII - A