February 28, 2020
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Photograph by Naeem Ansari

If elections were a banquet, Nizamabad would have had a feast on April 11, when the Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana voted. With 178 independent candidates (all protesting farmers) out of 185 in the fray, the Election Commission was forced to pull out unusual symbols from its stock—ranging from ginger, green chilli, lady’s finger, capsicum, jack fruit, food platter and even chocolate.

But that's not all. There is also trousers, frock, sacks, toothpaste, carpet, triangle, mobile charger, door handle, computer mouse...

But how did the EC fit all those symbols into the EVM? Therein lies the sec­ret. The EC adopted a new technology, linking as many as 12 EVMs to one control unit. In all, as many as 27,185 EVMs were used in 1,788 polling stations in the Nizamabad constituency.

The Whole Shebang


Police personnel in civvies leave for poll duty in the fifth phase, in Muzaffarpur

Photograph by PTI

Talking about the heat and dust of elections, this one ranks above everything else. A seer is performing a ‘havan’ (the Hindu ritual of burning ­offerings) with five kgs of red chilli every day to ensure the victory of Congress veteran Digvijaya Singh in Bhopal. Chillies are said to be a medium for ­exorcising evil.


“He used to say he’s a chaiwala. God knows if that was true. He used to roam around with a katlee (kettle). Now he roams around with a Jaitley.”

Mamata Banerjee, on PM Narendra Modi, who has earlier called her the ‘Speedbreaker Didi‘

By The Tweeple

The tweet by Congress president Rahul Gandhi was in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's comments about late Rajiv Gandhi. “Your father was termed ‘Mr Clean' by his courtiers, but his life ended as ‘Bhrastachari number 1' (corrupt number 1)," Modi had said.

Booth Footfalls

Number of constituencies that saw voter turnouts above 50 per cent in the first five phases of the elections (C is 50 to 60 per cent, B 60 to 70, and so on).


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