“I have been waiting in this line since half-an-hour and it hasn’t moved an inch,” said M.S. Saigal, a man in his 40s, who was standing in a serpentine queue at 12.45 p.m. He was waiting to cast his vote at the Shaheed Captain Government School in the Janakpuri constituency in West Delhi on Wednesday. There were many more angry people like him.
A young woman who had come with her father complained that it took her 45 minutes to get the voting slip at the counter, while a middle-aged couple nearby seemed to get angrier hearing her account. They said the help desk personnel spoke to each other and played with their mobile phones instead of attending to them.
“We had to wait in line for almost 45 minutes to vote despite being senior citizens. We felt like going home without casting our votes, like some of our friends who could not keep standing in line due to their age,” said 70-year- old Trilothama Singh, who had come to vote with his wife.
“I have had a cataract operation, but wanted to cast my vote. They asked me to get in line, but my son screamed at the people inside and I was allowed to cast my vote straight away,” said a fragile-looking Marti Sharma, who is in her late 60s.
All polling stations visited in the constituency had teachers on election duty complaining that the election office had not even offered them a cup of tea since they reported for duty at 7 a.m.
“We were to come here at 7 a.m. We have not been given tea, lunch or anything since then,” said a fuming teacher at about 2 p.m., who added that they were not even given the option of leaving the booths for a small break.
“On top of this, people are getting angry over their names not appearing in the voters’ list. How are we at fault if the election office says it has technical glitches?” said another teacher, who was fighting off the crowds at one polling station.
The polling booths also had more men in khaki keeping order and tolerance levels were low whenever an officer asked a citizen to stick to the line.