Saturday 21 May 2022
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Karthik, hero of the day, forces actor-politician Chiranjeevi into queue

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Scores of voters are seen standing in a queue at a Jubilee polling station in Hyderabad, waiting for their turn to cast their votes when Union minister and Congress leader K Chiranjeevi walks in with his family (wife Surekha and son Ram Charan). Some bow to greet him. Some smile at him betraying a mindset of subjugation. Some gesture as if saying, “Please proceed!” as if they have been honoured. And the feudal actor-turned-politician moves past them as if it were his right. He almost reaches the corner in the room where the electronic voting machine is installed. So far it is a sight common in a country whose people by and large still believe they live in a monarchy where their voted representatives constitute a de facto royal family. Then the scene changes abruptly. A voice calls him back.

An assertive young voter Karthik tells the ‘VIP’, “You cannot expect a special treatment on the polling day.”

A visibly shaken and embarrassed Chiranjeevi turns defensive. He pleads he was only trying to figure out if that was his polling station, much as he wasn’t looking like an enquiring voter some moments ago. As the ‘star’, who is also the Andhra Pradesh Congress Campaign Committee chairperson, retreats, those present at the polling station burst into applause, appreciating the young man, a non-resident Indian, who wouldn’t take injustice lying down.

“I respect him… but he should follow the queue. He is not over 65 or disabled,” a confident Karthik says. Taking a cue from him, an elderly gentleman complains, too, saying the Union minister’s action amounted to “grave injustice”.

“I am not such a person (who will violate the law). I am a person who respects democracy… media is overreacting,” Chiranjeevi tries to explain. Are you convinced?

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