11:45 a.m.: Shyamdev introduces me to the candidate he and his neighbours are supporting in the ongoing elections: Manya Rishi and her husband Ramchandra Rishi, who returned a week prior from Punjab to support his wife’s election campaign. “So many of our family members go to Punjab, Delhi and elsewhere to work. My own son is in Kerala, you know. He works in a factory where they produce chappals (open footwear). Left last month, after Holi. Other people go to work in farms or construction sites.
“We need a candidate who understands our situation,” he continues. “In our hamlet we are going to vote for her. Look at the other candidates. They are all stooges of the landlords. They work on their landlords’ farms or borrow credit from them. How can you expect them to defy the landlords? This election is about the prestige of the working poor, not the privileges of the landlords.”