Hiccups on polling day: No room for phones,the elderly

Those who came in groups took turns to vote while someone kept their phone for them

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: December 5, 2013 2:46 am

With no mobile phones allowed inside polling booths,a number of voters were faced with an unexpected problem — no place to keep their phones while they cast their ballots.

Those who came in groups took turns to vote while someone kept their phone for them. But,many of those who were alone had to return without voting.

“Nowadays,almost everyone carries a mobile phone. The Election Commission should have predicted the problem and found a solution. I wanted to vote and head straight to work. But now I don’t think I’ll be able to,” Ramesh Shankar,a resident of Shanti Niketan in RK Puram,said.

While the huge voter turnout was welcome,the long queues weren’t especially for senior citizens for whom no sitting arrangement had been made. “My mother has been standing in the queue for senior citizens. There was a debate as to who is more senior and who should be given a preference to skip the line,” Deepak who voted in Rajendra Nagar constituency,said.

At New Rajendra Nagar,the electronic voting machines malfunctioned,putting voters in a state of confusion. They had to keep coming back to check if the machines had started working.

Booth Level Officers,who spent the entire day sifting through names of voters and guiding them,did not get time to vote. They complained that no provisions had been made to ensure that they could cast their ballot too.

In Matia Mahal constituency,Prem Narayan reported for election duty at

8 am. “I live in Bawana,so I had to leave at 7 am to reach the polling station. I will be here till voting ends. I cannot even go back and vote. There should have been some provisions made for us to vote.” The sentiment was echoed in most constituencies.

Meanwhile,Puneet Singh,who was on duty at the Chhattarpur polling station,asked someone to cover for him while he quickly drove to his constituency to vote.

But not everyone was that lucky.

Regarding directions issued by EC for BLOs to vote,an officer at the Palam station said,“We were not given any guidelines as such. The “ballot paper” was only meant for government employees such as the polling staff inside the polling station and police officers. Some were lucky as they were given areas closer to where they live.”

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