Nonagenarians padding up, an overzealous constable spoiling the day of a new voter, EVMs conking out — The Hindu reporters see it all on an eventful V-Day
90 not out
Two nonagenarians of Kodialbail ward (no. 30) cast their votes in the election to Mangalore City Corporation council on Thursday. Christine Rodrigues, who would turn 92 years on April 12, 2013, cast her vote at a booth at Lourds High School at Bejai. Her daughter-in-law Diana Rodrigues, who led the old woman to the polling station, told media persons that Ms. Christine, a resident of Kadri-Kambla, had got ready at 5 a.m. Ms. Christine got angry when her family members told her there was no need to cast vote considering her age. “She scolded us,” Ms. Diana said. She said that her mother-in-law had fractured her left leg three years ago. She came to the booth holding a walker. Gopalakrishna Shetty, aged 90 years, from Kodialbail cast his vote at booth no. 196 on the Jail Road. A person accompanying him to the booth said that Mr. Shetty took his (Mr. Shetty’s) wife to task when she refused to vote. Both of them told media persons that all people should vote.
At booth no. 40 at Mahalingeshwara English Medium School under Idya West (no. 7) ward, a police constable allegedly snatched the cell phone of a girl who had come for voting. The constable said the girl received a phone call and spoke on the phone on the premises of the school. The girl in tears was seen pleading with the constable to return the phone. But the constable asked her to pay Rs. 1,000 as fine at Surathkal police station to get back the phone. The girl, a first time voter, said she was telling her brother on phone that her name was missing in the voters’ list though she had Voters’ ID.
As the news spread, a few people asked the constable to return the phone. Media persons alerted the presiding officer, who got the phone back for the girl. The presiding officer also warned people not to bring cell phones to the polling booth.
In this election, the list of candidates put up outside each polling station by the Election Commission did not carry the party symbols against the names of candidates. Instead, their symbols were described in words. For example, against a BJP candidate the word kamala (lotus) was written in Kannada.
Breaking law with consensus
Absence of place to set up helpdesks beyond 200 metres led the parties to a consensus to allow the desks to be set up 30 meters away from the polling area in Shivabagh. As the polling started in Shivabagh, the sectoral officer objected to presence of party helpdesks near the polling booths. The police were called to vacate the party men. The party men told the police and the election observers that they cannot set up the desks 200 metres away as it was a road. Following consensus of candidates and assurance of not indulging in wooing voters, permission was given to set up the help desks near the polling area.
Though parties are banned from displaying flags at their helpdesks, flags were seen fluttering at the helpdesks on Kodikal Main Road Thursday morning.
Voting came to a halt for nearly an hour at a polling booth in Mahakalipadpu because of a glitch in the electronic voting machine. The EVM at polling booth no. 371 in Jeppu ward stopped functioning after it recorded around 50 votes at 8.45 a.m. The polling officer had to keep the EVM aside and ask for a new EVM from the office of the Deputy Commissioner. The voting restarted around 9.40 a.m. The EVM at a booth in the Higher Primary School in Padavu also faced similar problem. The EVM got jammed after registering about 30 votes around 8 a.m. The polling officer had to record the votes in the jammed EVM and then bring a new EVM. The voting restarted around 9 a.m.
Stumped by slot
Shamshuddin, the Congress candidate from the Kudroli ward, said there was change in the order of candidates mentioned in the EVMs. The Election Commission, he said, had told him that his name would be at the bottom of the list on the EVM and he had distributed pamphlets in his area accordingly.
“But my position has changed and I am placed third among the four candidates. I might lose some votes in this confusion,” he said.
The Congress candidate from Bunder ward also faced similar problem, he said.