Polling in Punjab went live in North America thanks to webcasting from 4,300 polling stations in the state, which was watched by over 100 non-resident Indians in the US, Canada, and England.
It’s for the first time that the election commission (EC) introduced webcasting in such a large number of polling booths. The state had set up a total of 22,614 booths.
The NRIs did not merely watch the polling, they even interceded and called up the poll officials to get the camera positions changed. They also wanted to know why the polling was stopped at a few stations that they were watching.
Deputy Chief electoral officer Punjab Hargunjeet Kaur with whom the NRIs were in constant touch over WhatsApp, said taking suggestions from those sitting thousands of miles away was quite an interesting experience. She also won lots of praise and an invitation to visit the US for the good work done by the poll staff.
“It’s a great experience to be in touch with home, when all the action is happening there,” said Jaswinder Singh Dhillon (40) a mechanical engineer settled in Seattle, USA. He said he started watching the polls at 6:30 pm local time till 4:30 am, when the voting got over. Jaswinder said he wanted to be in Punjab during polls, but was forced to stay back due to some work.
Jaswinder from Kala Bakra village, Jalandhar, left Punjab at the age of 20, and never voted in the state polls. “I miss doing that,” he said. Refusing to disclose the party of his choice, he said the changing scenario and a new party have generated tremendous interest among the NRIs. “We are hopeful of a positive change,” he said.
“Some of us got together to watch the polls online. We even participated by calling up officials in Chandigarh, and asking them to make some changes here and there,” he said, saying that his friend Surinder Singh Sidhu was with him throughout the polling.
The NRIs were all praise for the technological advancement back home, which according to them was even better than in the western world. “Watching polls live was only possible because of technology,” Jaswinder said.