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Flying Back to Bengaluru in Bharat to Participate in the World’s Largest Festival of Democracy

Flying Back to Bengaluru in Bharat to Participate in the World’s Largest Festival of Democracy

  • As India awaits the results on June 4, millions feel pride and anticipation and I eagerly look forward to the outcome that will shape Bharat's future.

Amidst the bustling city of Bengaluru, I had the euphoric experience of participating in what is truly the world’s largest festival of democracy—the Indian general elections. The 2024 Lok Sabha elections, spanning over seven phases from April 19 to June 4, will see a staggering 970 million voters, including 18 million first-time voters and 194.7 million aged between 20 and 29, cast their ballots to elect 543 members to the lower house of Parliament.

The election season commenced following the announcement by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar in New Delhi on March 16, 2024. He outlined a six-week-long electoral process, emphasizing its scale and significance. This democratic extravaganza features over 1 million polling stations, 15 million polling officials and security staff, 550,000 EVMs, and 400,000 vehicles, underscoring the massive logistical undertaking.

As a permanent resident of Naperville, IL, in the United States, but still a citizen of Bharat, traveling 21 hours was a worthwhile journey to participate in this festival of democracy in my home constituency, Bengaluru South. My voting day experience began early on April 26. Local schools transformed into polling stations, opening promptly at 7:00 AM. By then, over 100 eager voters had already lined up, armed with pre-delivered ward numbers to streamline the process. The atmosphere was charged with a sense of duty and anticipation.

Even in my apartment complex, I saw volunteers going door to door, reminding people of their duty. They had made arrangements to help senior citizens to go vote and drop them off back home. Since the elections are being held during the hot Indian summer, they had set up stalls to distribute lemon water and snacks as a small treat for the participants in the festival of democracy.

Upon entering the polling booth, dedicated election officials meticulously verified my identity using my voter ID and home address. The final step involved inking my left index finger, a proud mark of fulfilling my civic duty. These checks and validations are essential because elections are not just about who wins but about convincing the citizens that the winner won legitimately. That is the bedrock of any functioning democracy.

I then proceeded to the EVM (Electronic Voting Machine), where the candidates from various political parties were listed. The privacy of the voting process was well-maintained, and the VVPAT (Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail) provided an additional layer of assurance.

Even the local Kannada news channel found it newsworthy to feature my journey from Naperville, IL, to the Bengaluru South constituency to participate in democratic exercise. They highlighted it as an example to encourage others to ensure a high voter turnout. Reflecting on the experience, I remarked, “Participating in this festival of democracy felt sacred, dutiful, and euphoric.”

The process was swift and efficient, a testament to the diligent planning and execution by the Election Commission of India. Despite being just one among 970 million voters, the significance of each individual’s contribution was palpable.

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This election also marks a significant demographic shift, with female voters outnumbering male voters in 12 states and over 850,000 first-time female voters joining the electorate. The inclusive nature of this democratic exercise highlights Bharat’s commitment to a representative and participatory governance model.

As Bharat awaits the results on June 4th, millions of others feel pride and anticipation. My inked index finger serves as a lasting reminder of my participation in this monumental democratic event, and I eagerly look forward to the outcomes that will shape Bharat’s future.

For real-time updates and more information on the 2024 general elections, visit the Election Commission of India website at

Shreyas Suresh is a Pravaasi Bharatiya residing in Naperville, IL. Please follow him on X @vande_mataram.

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