Journalists too love elections. There is no dearth of news as we have enough newsmakers than leaders in our country. Everyday journalists get hundreds of news wires that talk about some hilarious statement made by some ridiculous politician during his or her unrelenting attempt to woo voters. Wearing the garb of a true saviour they enter the world of mudslinging, which is obviously bound to flash across news channels and newspapers alike.
Apart from all this, it is the willingness of the politicians to meet the media that makes elections extra special. Have you ever seen Manmohan Singh’s or LK Advani’s family face the camera before? This is the time when they are dying to be covered like never before. Good or bad. Does not matter anymore. Its Indian elections after all! A little bit of publicity can make all the difference.
Recently, I have been into reporting. Being a new kid in the block, I have very few articles to my credit. But the recent elections have taught me those lessons on democracy, which no book can offer. Before elections, whenever I have tried contacting an MLA, I failed miserably. One of my stories even got scrapped for lack of the concerned MLA’s quote. So this time when my editor asked me to do a story, which required many quotes from the election candidates; I was petrified to say the least.
But as luck would have it, I got quotes from every candidate I tried to contact. My first call was a Shiv-Sena candidate. The candidate who claims will solve all problems faced by Mumbaikars was sleeping at 11.30 am. He was apparently tired after the hectic campaign schedule. The moment I heard his tired and sleepy voice I was ready for a rebuke. But none of that came. Instead, the moment I told him I am from the Press, he promised to call back once he was out of his slumber. For once the promise was kept! I got a call two hours later!
Milind Deora, the much-celebrated young candidate from south Mumbai was next on my list. At first I got through his personal assistant. He politely told me that he is campaigning and so cannot attend the call. Slowly I whispered the magic words – ‘I am from the Press’. His assistant asked me to hold on for a second. Then it was Mr. Deora who answered me. He asked me to call after one hour but within 45 minutes I got a call from him and was able to get an interview.
Now the magic words helped me throughout and I was able to meet few of the candidates in person too. They made sure to take time out of their hectic schedule to answer my questions. To my dismay some of the candidates just kept reiterating the problems when I kept asking for solutions. Problems like traffic congestion, water woes, loadshedding are such age-old problems in Mumbai that even a small child will be able to point it out. But solutions are something that is hard to come by. Even the candidates seemed to be burdened with the problems than the solutions.
Nevertheless, my job was done and the report was complete.
Come May 17 and I know, once again, I would have a tough time to getting through all those celebrated MLAs. My magic words might help me at times but the common man will have to wait for yet another Lok Sabha election to be able to see their beloved candidates and get their queries answered.
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