This Time Around, Polls Are Driven By Selfie Passion In India

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Mumbai voted and so did Delhi. Bangalore did it, too! And Kolkata was not left behind either. While the whole country seems reluctant to comment on whether there is a genuine Narendra Modi wave this time around or whether it is the handiwork of the media, no one can possibly deny a couple of poll trends which have come up this time.

To start with, the number of first-time voters has been the highest this time. The other trend, apparently new in the Indian context, is the emergence of the 'selfie brigade' as voters pose with index-finger-inked selfies on their respective social networking sites.

In a narcissistic world, anything that glorifies the self is welcomed with open arms. Err... did we say arms? We mean the hands that take the pictures, of course. Social networking sites seem to thrive on the selfie culture, helping people glorify the self, even if it means throwing privacy and caution to the wind. In that sense, being 'social' is more about self-promotion, rather than networking with people and meeting them. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the new Page 3.

When you say that all the world's a stage, the elections must be the biggest platform to stage a great performance. So what other option was left for the 23.16 million young, peppy, cyber-savvy Gen Y, hitting the polling booths to exercise their franchise? It had to be a flood of inked selfies, expressly showing their joy and pride that come with casting the ballot.

Giving into this trend were celebrities and politicians who would not lose a chance to show that they did fulfil their responsibility. Rajinikath's fans posted a picture of the thalaiva voting; Shah Rukh posed with his inky finger outside the booth, and so did Aamir and his wife Kiran. Sachin Tendulkar also surrendered to this selfie craze. Director-actor Farhan Akhtar posted his selfie with the picture taken at his house; Rahul Bose took his selfie with a poker face; Preity Zinta went for a selfie pose for a snapshot while Raveena Tandon looked beautiful, shooting her inky index finger inside her car.

But there were even more luminaries who followed the trend. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan voted without giving it a miss. Singer Kailash Kher turned to his camera soon after voting and showed the world he had performed his duty as an Indian citizen. Sonam Kapoor looked all radiant while posing with that inky finger right in front of her. And an almost forgotten Dino Morea posted his selfie soon after voting was done. English Vinglish director Gauri Shinde didn't miss posing before her own camera after she voted. In a nutshell, the selfie frenzy took over during the polls and caught hold of everyone, almost everywhere.

The ones who didn't post their selfies were probably the most 'tech-unabled' people. The incessant flow of selfies were fast and furious, came in all shapes and sizes, and featured varied expressions - right from brilliant, billion-dollar smiles to haggard to merry ones. But the most disappointed lot of this season were those who went to the booth armed with their cell phones (naturally 3G-enabled ones, which would enable them to post a picture even before the ink on their fingers dried), only to find that their names were missing from the voters' list. Their disappointment was as huge as Viswanathan Anand's when he lost the World Championship to young Magnus Carlson. What a pity. And what a selfie-opportunity missed for life (or at least for the next five years).

Just as the indelible ink has made its mark throughout the democratic process, pinpointing the serious nature of our political responsibilities, people posting selfies after voting also tells us another story - a different story altogether. It amply shows that upholding the democratic system in India has now become a heady combination of duty and exhibitionism.

Now, we call that finger-lookin' good!

Image: Sachin Tendulkar/Twitter
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