Disappointment over lack of Braille ballot papers in Delhi Assembly elections

Madhur Tankha

NEW DELHI: Even though the State Election Commission, Delhi, had printed ballot papers in Braille for visually challenged voters ahead of the recent Assembly polls in the city, some such impaired voters were unable to get these papers in booths while exercising their franchise.

Expressing disappointment over lack of ballot papers in Braille, All-India Confederation of the Blind secretary general J.K. Kaul, who is visually challenged himself, said he was not able to use the ballot paper in Braille while exercising his franchise at the recent Delhi Assembly elections.

A distraught Mr. Kaul said: “The State Election Commission had given the task of printing 500 ballot papers for each of the 68 constituencies to All-India Confederation of the Blind. We have the biggest printing machine for the visually impaired persons in the country. But as luck would have it, I was not able to get ballot paper in Braille while voting at Model Town. The Braille paper was necessary for people like us because it would have enabled us to vote independently and that too with full confidentiality.”

All-India Confederation of the Blind secretary general said some people in his organisation had been able to vote, while others were unsuccessful. Ranju Singh, a visually challenged teacher at Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Sultanpuri, said: “Polling agents on duty at Avantika Sector-1 told me that there were no ballot papers in Braille. Even then I exercised my franchise.”

However, some were more fortunate. A visually impaired person Ramesh Nijhawan, who was employed honorary with All-India Confederation of the Blind, said he was lucky enough to get hold of a Braille ballot paper in Rithala.

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