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Raminder Pal Singh

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Indian Parliamentary elections 2019

 

Well, the 7 phase Parliamentary or general elections of India which began on 11 April 2019 came to its culmination with polling held in 7 states and one Union Territory, including my state, Punjab on 19 May 2019.

I started the day early at 6 a.m. when I left the Amritsar city to visit some villages near the Indo-Pak (India - Pakistan) border and to see what I could get there.

 


SHAHOORA

The first village which I visited was village Shahoora which is just 5 km away from the border with Pakistan. The famous Attari -Wagha border is approximately at the same distance from this village. It was about 7 a.m. and people had started to gather outside a school which had been turned into a polling station. Quite contrary to what I had expected, there were not many people, present there to cast their votes. In fact, at the end of the day it turned out that Amritsar district had the lowest percentage of voting at 56.35 per cent, in the entire Punjab state. 

Some pictures which I took at Shahoora village:

 

First time voter Navpreet Kaur shows her inked finger after casting her vote

 

A voter shows his ID card before casting his vote

 

A voter signs a document before casting her vote


MODE

Second village which I visited for the photographs was village Mode which is very close to another important historical monument from Maharaja Ranjit Singh's era, Pul Moran or Pul Kanjari. The school there had also been turned into a polling station and people were dropping in, in small numbers to exercise their right to vote. here are some glimpses from people voting in village Mode:

An elderly villager shows his ink-marked finger after casting his vote

 

 

A voter carries her child as she comes out after casting her vote

 

 

A child stands near his mother as voters stand in a queue to cast their votes

 

 

Villager voters stand in a queue to cast their votes 

 

 


BACHIWIND

Bachiwind, the third village saw me rushing out of my car to talk to two young girls who had just come out of the polling station and were holding certificates. These I knew were the appreciation certificates that they had got as "first time voters." Election Commission of India (ECI) has instructed to present these certificates to the youngsters who vote for the first time to encourage young voters to cast their votes. Here they are 

First time voters Poonamdeep Kaur (L) and Komaljeet Kaur show their inked fingers after casting their votes

 

Some other shots from Bachiwind:

Aman was laughing like anything before getting herself photographed as she was not used to this sort of attention. She made me laugh as well while I unsuccessfully asked her to pose for the camera till a polling official who was watching all this from a distance and was also smiling, came forward and told her how to pose.

First time voter Amandeep Kaur shows her inked finger after casting her vote

 

 

An elderly Indian woman shows her inked finger after casting her vote

 

I was looking to shoot something different from all these voter queues and posed shots while an idea struck my mind to find someone who could be working in his farm after casting his vote. I thought that could make a good picture as it would represent the true image of a farmer from Punjab. I asked a couple of people who I came across in farms if they had already voted and their answer was a "no" .After meandering through the village roads and unsuccessfully trying to ask a few more people, I came across a gentleman Jagira Singh and I was glad to know that he had cast his vote. I explained it to him that why I wanted to photograph him and he happily posed for me and here is the result:

This is the best shot, in my view that I got from the entire election coverage on that day.

 

 


ATTARI

Fourth village on the route was Attari village which is the last village you pass through while travelling towards the famous Attari border which has been known more popularly as Wagha border.

Here, as I came across some senior citizens who were sitting at a market square and I asked them about the directions to the school turned polling station. As they told me about the same, I happened to see the ink marked finger of one of those "wise men." I immediately got out of my car and asked them if I could photograph them and as expected, they obliged. Here is the picture that I took there:

 

Another image I made at the school errr... polling station was a woman carrying her child as she waited in the queue to cast her vote and the child curiously looked at me (well not in this picture though) while I took this photograph:

 

I would close this post with one more photograph that came to my mind from the word curious. The image was made at village Bachiwind where a woman asked me to photograph her as well as I was photographing around.  As she was posing for the camera, the child looked confused as he first looked at his mother's finger and then towards her face and repeated this for at least three times.

Don't worry kid, you'll get to experience this feeling when you grow up and vote for the first time and get a certificate of appreciation from the ECI :) 

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