I spent the entire day (a holiday and the festival of Ugadi at that) campaigning on the ground for Yogesh Devaraj in and around Arekere with a team of 10-12 committed volunteers (all doing it just because they believe in Yogesh and his commitment for changing the system & of course changing people's belief in their ability to change the system one person/voter at a time).
Two things that stood out after a long and tiring day ... the hope that the poor and quite a few of the middle class still have for change and their needs are very very basic (Water, Roads, Drainage, Better education and Get my son a job) and the apathy among some of the apartment dwellers (some of them claiming to have a voter id in their home town) while almost scolding us saying "Why didn't you come earlier, you could have got us a Voter ID card and we would have voted for you". While it is sad that people expect to be spoon-fed into doing their most basic duty to the nation,, one thought in hind-sight was if ONLY our campaign had started a few weeks earlier, we really could have if nothing helped bring up the voting % by another 5-10%.
All in all a super campaign day ... the team met probably a record number of people today and also got a record number & % of "Yes, we will definitely vote for you". Surprisingly, among even the poorer class of people who said almost every time, we have realized that selling our vote for a few 1000 Rs. is hurting us. We will never do it again". There were a handful of jerks who said, "I have 100/150 votes, how much will you pay". We responded with lines like "Is that what your children's future is worth?", "God save you", "He'll give you 1000 and make sure that you end up spending 5000 or even 50000 more over the five year term for Water, Electricity, Travel from one place to another and for your child's education", "Keep getting fooled" and so on and so forth.
On the positive side, we also heard several people say, "I/my family/my extended family of 20+ have been voting for BJP/Congress for the last god knows how many years. Now, we have had enough of it. Thanks for coming today and giving us hope. We will definitely vote for Yogesh." And as the buzz gets stronger and stronger and spreads across wards, any fears that people have that my vote will go waste is slowly and surely going away.
Yogesh is sure to make an impact and the best testimony to that is some so-called good parties starting a dirty game of spreading lies about Yogesh (again revealed because they happened to say the same lies to a friend of Yogesh that we met) and also spreading cleverly written propaganda (read lies) about them being supported by AAP, establishing cheap alliances with mainstream political parties with a record of corruption, violence and no match in ideology OR reason for doing so. Come on, guys. What is the difference between you and the Congress and BJP now if you will do all this to try and get a few more votes?
Anyway, to end this on a happy note, I will share what Yogesh said to us during the break. I will never stoop down to that level even if I lose this election because of not doing so. Because, I am thinking long-term and the cause of cleaning up politics and governance in India. I don't want people to lose hope that there are good people in politics. And people will see through their lies & cheap tricks either today OR some day when word gets around and they will lose out their place in this campaign for cleaning up politics sooner rather than later. The crusade will go on.
Read more about Yogesh at www.vote4yogesh.org and his Facebook page. Please like and share his page with friends and do try and see if you can join one of his Weekend campaigns (one contact with him and your belief in the possibility of CHANGE will definitely increase). You can enroll for one of the campaigns by calling Yogesh on his personal no. 94803.25600