If you are not particularly interested in the future of the country, you must still line up to cast your vote. Marketers are falling over each other to lure voters with freebies. High street brand Marks & Spencer, sundry ice-cream brands and restaurants are promising discounts on their offers if the walk-in customer shows the telltale ink mark on the index finger. Various hotel associations in Chennai have declared a flat 10 per cent discount on restaurant bills if the customer shows the ink mark and her voter identity card. Even some beauty salons in cities that have gone to the polls in the first phase have joined the fray and are offering people a makeover if they can demonstrate they have exercised their franchise.
In hot soup
Madhya Pradesh cabinet minister Jitu Patwari's (pictured) antics have landed the state unit of his party in the soup. A viral video shows him ordering around the Congress candidate from Dewas, Prahlad Tipaniya: Tipaniyaji khade ho jao... ab baith jao. Tipaniya is seen following the instructions without a murmur of protest. Patwari then tells the gathered Congress workers in the local Malwi dialect, "Itto bhalo aadmi dusro milego?" (Will you find another gentleman like him?)
Whatever his intention — and although after his speech Patwari is seen touching Tipaniya's feet and seeking his blessings — the first part of the video has rankled social media users, with many posting their disapproval. Tipaniya is a famous folk singer and has won several awards including the Padma Shri in 2011.
Just two days after Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Bhima Mandavi and four others were killed in an alleged Naxal attack in Dantewada district, Mandavi’s family members exercised their franchise in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election on Thursday. The attack on the MLA’s convoy was seen as an attempt by the Left wing extremists to deter people from voting. The surviving adult members – Mandavi’s parents and his widow – did not let the threat perception or the grief that has gripped the family prevent them from fulfilling what they considered “their duty and also a tribute to the martyred politician”, said a former aide of the MLA on the phone.