With seating arrangements for the voters, wooden ramps to aid the handicapped along with a pair of wheelchairs for senior citizens, these booths across the city, were easily identifiable. The Election Commission (EC) had recognised one polling booth in each constituency as a ‘model’ poling booth in a bid to encourage a larger voter turnout for the Assembly election this year, Anil Valvi, deputy chief election officer, said that the EC had declared 564 polling booths as model polling booths across the state for the Assembly polls and the 36 constituencies in Mumbai had one each. “We had tried this for the first time during the Lok Sabha elections, but this was done at a smaller scale, with just 25 to 30 model polling booths across the state. We intend to expand the number of model booths in the city for the next election,” he added.
Besides the facilities provided, the officers in charge of the model polling booths, also put in efforts to make them look colourful. The entrance of Cowasjee High School polling booth, Malabar Hill, was adorned by a large rangoli, which had the EC logo, with the tri-coloured stripes and blue circles at the end of it. The rangoli also mentioned the constituency name and the number of the model booth.
The model polling booth at Elphinstone College, Colaba, offered roses to the initial 100 voters to appreciate those who came to vote early in the morning. “This is only to show that that the EC appreciates the voters coming to the booth. We were short of manpower, otherwise we would have had a beautiful rangoli at the entrance,” said Upendra Tamore, returning officer of Colaba constituency.
Valvi added that a booth is declared as a model polling booth based on the space available for making such arrangements and not the number of voters registered with the booth.