Everyone powered record count

Never before had an Assembly election brought people out in such numbers,surprising pundits and netas.

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 5, 2013 3:00 am

Everyone had a story,everyone had a reason. And everyone wanted to vote. From the 100-year-old to the student from Michigan who took the Metro,from the visually-impaired couple to the

74-year-old woman who asked securitymen to carry her to the booth,all contributed to the record Delhi turnout on Wednesday.

Never before had an Assembly election brought people out in such numbers,surprising pundits and netas,and leaving parties guessing which way had the 1.2 crore votes gone. These included over four lakh voting for the first time.

Age was not going to keep out Dr Chandprakash. With wife Sumitra and a domestic help eligible for her first vote,100-year-old Chandprakash waited at a booth in Jorbagh: “I have health issues but nothing can stop me from voting… We asked our help to finish work early. She is a first-time voter and it is a matter of pride for us that she has come out to vote. She sets an example for others.”

At a booth in Nanakpura,under the R K Puram constituency,a visually impaired couple,Delhi University professor Manjula Rath and her husband Suresh,waited for their turn. “Change is important. A democracy cannot function if the same party rules for several terms. None of the parties have provided anything for the disabled in their agenda. Are we not citizens,” Rath asked.

For 35-year-old Rakesh,who works as an electrician,no party agenda or promise has ever been an incentive to vote. But the entry of a third party saw him heading to a booth in Trilokpuri.

“I can feel something changing,something different this time. I am getting late for work. But this time,I have to vote,” he said.

In New Rajinder Nagar,N C Bhambhani waited to usher in an “honest government for once”. “I have voted every election,but it is time for honesty and fairness in governance.”

Interior designer Banita Sethi,voting for the first time,had other concerns. “need a safe environment for women,there has to be someone who can promise us this. I am voting because I want to see some change.”

At Nirman Bhawan,74-year-old Rukmani Devi was carried to the booth by two securitymen. “I may not be able to walk but I can’t think of not casting my vote. It is my right and duty,” she said.

For three years,Ankit Raj,a student from IIT Ropar,had been visiting Delhi only over the weekend to meet his mother. But on Wednesday,he made a special effort. “We study everyday but there is only one day you can vote.”

From early morning,young men and women who live and work in different parts of the city,and many voting for the first time,packed the Metro stations. Their plan was simple: go to your constituency,vote and return on the Metro.

Girish Tripathi,a student at Sainath College in Agra,said: “I may live a little far,but I am still a Delhi resident. I have a feeling that this time every vote will matter.”

Others like Pronoy Roy,a student at Michigan University,advanced his Christmas vacation to make it home in time for elections. “I wanted to be here,so I could cast my ballot,” he said.

Morning also saw Delhi voters who work elsewhere in the NCR taking time out. “I informed my boss yesterday that I’ll be coming in late today,” Prateek Mazumdar,who works for an MNC in Gurgaon,said.

From coaches to washrooms,snack counters to exit gates,Metro stations were rife with election talk. All had one question: Who do you think is going to win?

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