Thursday, Oct 23, 2014

Overnight: Travelling through Delhi to capture signs of a regime change

It takes but a few hours for the balance to tilt from the Congress to the BJP. Congress union ministers have lost their police escorts, and barricades that blocked access to the Congress office on Akbar Road have been moved to Ashoka Road It takes but a few hours for the balance to tilt from the Congress to the BJP. Congress union ministers have lost their police escorts, and barricades that blocked access to the Congress office on Akbar Road have been moved to Ashoka Road
Written by Apurva | Posted: May 18, 2014 12:52 am | Updated: May 18, 2014 1:37 pm

The party at the BJP office after counting day is long past. The last BJP worker, with voice hoarse and delirious with pride, has left for home and the clean-up crew has arrived. Trucks line the roads outside to pack away dismantled furniture, microphones and tents. Electricians cautiously disentangle a row of lights hastily strung over trees that flank the premises.

Night has fallen, a sweeping victory has sunk in and Delhi seems to await a new dawn. It takes but a few hours for the balance to tilt from the Congress to the BJP. Congress union ministers have lost their police escorts, and barricades that blocked access to the Congress office on Akbar Road have been moved to Ashoka Road.

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It’s past 11 pm and as police take away the last few barricades, 11 Ashoka Road has new visitors. Voters. Voters who have driven to the BJP office to witness ‘history’. And the BJP has seemingly prepared for it. A giant poster of the party symbol on a saffron background stands outside the main gate with a dais below.

A father lifts his six-year-old daughter on the dais and asks her to pose. One hand on her hip and head tilted to one side, the daughter smiles and holds up two fingers as her parents furiously capture ‘history’ on their mobile phones. A petulant son waits by the side, he is not interested in getting his picture taken. “What are you waiting for? Get up there. We have waited 10 long years for this moment and you are standing around,” the father chides him. “I don’t want to go,” the son protests but he is bodily put on the stage.

Metres away, five young adults indulge in their favourite pastime — selfies. At least three dozen photographs are snapped in a few seconds and a critical analysis of each follows. “I think you should tag this one on Facebook, the light from the street lamp is perfect and the angle is awesome,” says one. Another chimes in, “Yes and don’t forget to put it on Twitter. I think we will be the first to upload these pics.”

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Quarter to midnight now and the AICC office on Akbar Road is packed up. Where once a visitor without influence would have been shunned at the gates, we walk in continued…

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