The provision of providing wheelchairs in all its 11,763 polling booths was a big hit with senior citizens but some differently abled voters were left disappointed with seamless travel missing in many polling booths.
Jaggi Kaur (84) had barely stepped out of her car, when a young man approached her with a wheelchair. “Is this for me?” she asked. The man responded saying this service was being provided to all senior citizens by the Delhi CEO office for the first time.
Kaur said, “This service has made it easier for us. I live close by but my husband and I needed our driver to escort us here. We didn’t know how we would walk till the polling booth. This service has really benefited us.”
However, for Kamla Devi (60) from Sultanpuri, even though the experience was ‘novel’, the wheelchairs proved to be helpful only to a certain extent. Devi suffered a spinal injury three years ago and has been having trouble walking since then. “Sure, it was helpful, but the assistant couldn’t wheel me inside the room, since there were no ramps,” Devi said, walking out of the booth.
Unaffected by the unavailability of facilities, most physically challenged voters said they would vote irrespective of difficulties. “Irrespective of the facilities at the polling booth, I will exercise my franchise, as I believe that each and every vote counts and will have an impact,” Mohammad Javed (28), who was accompanied by his father, said.
Similarly, Krishna Devi (50) said her orthopaedic disability did not prevent her from going to the polling booth in Patparganj. “In the past no political party has reached out to the disabled and raised our issues. This time, some parties thought about issues related to the disabled. All I want is to run a business so that I do not have to depend on others for a livelihood,” Devi said.