Hi, Himachal This Side. Yes We Exist.


Hi, Himachal This Side. Yes We Exist.

Illustration: Akshita Monga

Himachal Pradesh. Land of the mighty Himalayas. Top of mind for anyone looking to be high above the dratted, dusty, hot plains or simply high. But during this election, Himachal Pradesh got a taste of what it is like to be the North East of India as Gujarat hogged all the attention. As the two siblings fought for their parents’ attention, there seemed to be clear favouritism as to who was going to get the ice cream.

For starters, let’s blame the national media. News channels ignored the trends in Himachal Pradesh as if they were floods in Assam. It received side mentions every now and then similar to the small roles Jimmy Shergill gets in Bollywood. The only time Himachal gets the spotlight these days is when Kangana Ranaut makes the news for any reason, so people with access to Wikipedia can tell us she is from Himachal, for the millionth time. Or when your Facebook friends start tagging you in beautiful pictures of snow-clad mountains with “Let’s go!!!”, in plans that will never materialise.

When people want to plan vacations, Shimla is a premier destination on their wish list but when it came to elections, Himachal has been struggling to even make it to social media’s trending lists as all everyone wanted to talk about was Mr Modi and how he would fare in Gujarat. This despite the fact that the Prime Minister held seven rallies in the hill state, and had even more costume and headgear changes through his campaign.

While the fight in Gujarat was heated and bitter, the debate in Himachal surrounding local issues, was really cool, just like the weather. With numbers that would make a WWE trump card enthusiast proud, six-time Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh was up against PK Dhumal, who had served three terms himself, in a contest that saw a record turnout of 74.61 percent. But the only records that we talked about 24X7 were those broken by Virat Kohli.

Where were the fireworks, Himachal? Where was the sex CD involving any of the major candidates?

The state’s own version of the odd-even policy continued as the government in power once again failed to keep their power, in an anti-incumbency vote. But Himachal was ignored so much, no one even bothered to blame the EVM machines for their loss.

But I would put the blame squarely at the door of the state itself. Where were the fireworks, Himachal? Where was the sex CD involving any of the major candidates? Where was the name-calling and the oonch-neech ka papda? Where were the seaplanes and the Marvel superhero entries? Did you really think you could make the national headlines with a simple campaign fought over local issues and a voting process that didn’t attract any disturbance or violence?

That’s so boring, Himachal. Always remember that in India, whether it’s cricket, Bollywood, or politics, there’s only one thing we love – entertainment, entertainment, and entertainment. Learn from the good folks in Gujarat.