Celebrations at the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) headquarters in New Delhi started early. From the first firecracker the noise built. Within hours a hyperbolic mix of drums, trumpets, chanting and shouting filled the air. And the celebrations continued at this pace and with this intensity well into the day.
A big tally screen was erected outside the party office and it was updated remotely every few minutes, a realtime numerical guide for the party faithful. But it was hardly watched by the throng of supporters that gathered outside.
Observing the day unfold, it seemed to me like most of the people who mingled, danced, laughed and hugged knew their party had clinched victory. It felt as if they could sense the Modi wave was about to crash onto the shores of the Indian capital and that it was just a matter of time before it all became “official”. Besides, for the ruling Congress-led United Progressive Alliance coalition, the writing was already on the “BJP victory wall”.
The “wall” I’m talking about was actually a big plastic sheet with a picture of Narendra Modi in one corner. Party supporters were given free reign with marker pens to write congratulatory messages to the country’s new prime minister and the incoming government.
One message in capital letters at the bottom of the “wall” caught my eye. It read “Beauty of Democracy”.
While the beauty of the BJP’s victory may well be in the eye of the beholder, it’s hard to overlook the beauty of India’s complex voting process. There were weeks of polling in constituencies of all sizes, in some of the most remote areas on Earth, as well as the most densely populated, where hundreds of millions of people from all walks of life lined up to have their say.
Friday, May 16 was the result of a big and beautiful logistical exercise.
While not all Indians will agree or be happy with the result, few can deny that what they and their fellow citizens have been part of is pretty spectacular and rather beautiful too.