Lok Sabha Election

Model polling stations make voting easy for elderly, differently abled

To make the entire experience of voting ‘pleasant and enriching’, the Election Commission has set up 70 model polling stations – ten for each of the seven parliamentary constituencies – across the Capital.

The model polling stations had good-condition buildings with freshly painted walls and good-quality furniture for polling personnel and polling agents. Other provisions included separate toilets, drinking water, shades, ramps and wheelchair for voters with disability.

The facilities provided and efforts of the Election Commission personnel were appreciated by the voters, especially the senior citizens and the differently abled.

Athar Kaur, who is in her early 70s, was sitting in a school compound where she had cast her vote, in North West Delhi’s Jahangirpuri. “I have no complaints about the arrangements. The staff from the local anganwadi have been very helpful. Like other elderly voters, I was given preference by the staff manning the polling booth,” Ms. Kaur said.

Leela Ram (98) echoed the same view after casting his vote at Sarvodaya Bal Vidyalaya, one of the ten model polling stations in the Chandni Chowk parliamentary constituency. “All arrangements were in place and everyone from the staff manning the booth to the policemen were very helpful. They helped me walk to and from the booth,” he said.

Thirty-two-year-old differently abled Asib, who had lost both his legs at the age of five, stopped the autorickshaw he had come in at the school’s gate and started pushing himself inside when police officers at the gate asked him to take the three-wheeler inside the premises. “They broke rules for a poor man like me. I have no words,” he said, adding that he voted for a government that might “consider the existence of differently abled persons”.

Jaffrabad resident Ghulam Mustafa (79) came on a wheelchair to cast his vote with his family in the afternoon. He said people should come to vote irrespective of the weather or their age. “I have so many ailments but I came, so should everyone. Make your vote count. I heard there was only around 8% turnout in the morning,” Mr. Mustafa said.

Sukhrana (80), a resident of Nand Nagri, who was dropped by her grandson outside the polling station on a two-wheeler, said, “I will vote for whoever my daughter or grandson will tell me to. If you believe me, most of the uneducated, old people vote like this.”

To avoid long queues and summer heat, Amarnath Kumar, a senior citizen, who was wheeled into a polling station in the New Delhi constituency, said he arrived exactly at 7 a.m. so that he did not have to wait in queues braving the heat. “It is my right to vote and even though I cannot walk without help, I have done my duty,” he said.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2021 7:05:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/model-polling-stations-make-voting-easy-for-elderly-differently-abled/article27111487.ece

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