IF you believe that Indian elections have a funny side to them, then Battle for Bittora is the book for you. It is about the election battle of two young contestants-Sarojini and Zain Altaf Khan-from Pragati party and IJP, modeled after you know what. The novel provides details about Sarojini’s candidature and her grandmother’s strategy to make her win with the help of a crack team of humorously drawn oddities. She is given a list of the major segments of her constituency and the problems that beset the people in them so that she can prepare speeches with local relevance. Interestingly, because of their old association, they are on the facebook, busy with their interesting exchanges.
Chauhan paints the election process in great detail: election meetings, heated and humorous exchanges of candidates with people, and songs, slogans, and rumours that fill the air all the time. Thrown in with this are details about the two candidates and their hot and fierce meetings.
Sarojini’s supporters get angry with her when she spoils the chances of turning her grandmother’s death to her advantage, because in a moment of grief she throws herself into Zain’s arms. But when she finally wins, Zain congratulates her and drives her to the Parliament for the swearing-in ceremony.
Battle for Bittora captures the excitement, colour, and intrigues that are a part of the election scene in India. Written in a racy style and laced generously with crisp and colloquial dialogues, and a lot of desi humour, it is an interesting read.
(Harpercollins Publishers, A-53, sector-57, Noida-201301 (UP))