I fervantly hope that the polling picks up.
The percentages till now have been disappointing to say the least. The Urban voters, those constant complainers, them forwarders of chain smses and hyperventilating news-viewers - have disappointed. When the time came to actually do something, most of them decided to enjoy the holiday. So much for Generation X and the new activist populace.
I did vote - most certainly. It would be hypocritical of me to advertize the ballot and not heed my own advice. Well, there are a few who haven't had the time to log in and check their names on the list - topping this list of great people who couldn't spare a minute is LK Advani. What does it say if he is asking for millions of votes, but doesn't have the time to realize that his own name isn't on the lists... it isn't hard really. Coming close is ISRO Chief Madhavan Nair - he can send up the most hi-tech gizmos thousands of miles up into the black yonder, but finds it difficult to do a few clicks on his computer.
Forgetting these worthies, after two (3 when you read it), the trends do seem varied - While exit polls may be banned, I can direct you to Swapan Dasgupta's blog (http://swapan55.blogspot.com) for the trends.
What does seem clear is that UPA is slipping (which is somewhat consistent with my predictions). What is unclear is whether NDA can make up the numbers. I think that it will need to find allies very fast. But definite gains are likely.
I do see a definite improvement for the BJP in urban areas, based on a qualitative indicator. While a majority of youth may have slouched at home and watched people queueing up at the booths (well, there weren't any) on NDTV, there has been a definite upsurge in the level of interest of those who did vote. The best part is that they are not bashful to declare their allegiance. I have had a large number of youngsters openly discussing their votes and why they chose so. Such a strong political sense is to be applauded and enjoyed.
Even more heartening is the fact that even larger numbers of people have been asking others if they voted - that creates a social incentive/peer pressure to vote. Good again.
Coming to the qualitative trend, I mentioned that a large number of urban voters were happy to say who they vote for (something that I can't imagine happening in the rural hinterland or even in most small towns). A large majority (I'd put it at 66-75%) of them were proud to have voted for BJP. The major reason simply was change. In my opinion, this is an interesting trend, where parties trump over candidates (something that I agree with, at least with the Lok Sabha polls - I'll explain why later).
So what do I think... I think NDA will gain in urban areas, at least with those among gen x who voted. But whether that will translate into larger gains than I thought remains to be seen.
A message for those who can vote in the next two rounds - VOTE!!!!!