As the votes were counted in the US election Tuesday night, the excitement in Mumbai over the outcome was palpable at a popular party place, where a large number of keen poll watchers gathered to witness the countdown to the result.
At the end of the hugely contested election, president Barack Obama was re-elected for a second term by 303 electoral votes to 206 for his rival Mitt Romney, on a very narrow popular vote margin as compared to the landslide he got four years ago.
But in the group of poll watchers in Mumbai, Obama would have won a landslide all over again. In a mock poll conducted by the American Consulate among the select gathering, 90% gave it to Obama and just 10% voted Romney. Clearly, Mumbai still loves the American leader who came visiting exactly two years ago.
Even the sumptuous American breakfast buffet laid out for the guests could not take away their focus from the fast-developing story on the screens.
US consul general Peter Haas said: “Elections are always an exciting time. Even if everything goes by the book, sometimes one could be surprised at what comes out. Just like in cricket, where in a five-day Test match it is difficult to say what will happen till the last ball is bowled, here too there can be and there have been surprises.”
Asked who he was rooting for, he replied, “Irrespective of who wins, this is a huge victory for American democracy.”
As the television announced Obama had crossed the winning 270 mark, the place erupted with whistles and hundreds of red, white and blue balloons were burst.
Gayatri Eassey, of the American India Foundation, was ecstatic. “President Obama has shown that he is a man of his word. No wonder so many of us want him back.”
But Texas farmer Roy Jacob had a word of caution. “Obama raised expectations very high when he first ran for office. In the last four years, a lot has gone wrong. I hope the president uses the faith reposed in him once again, to fix the wrongs and steer the nation out of the problems it is still caught in.”