As young and old turned up to cast their vote for the Madhya Pradesh assembly elections on Monday, a diminutive old woman returned from a Bhopal polling booth disappointed.
Three-foot tall Zeenat Bi is aged above 100 years – and has staked a claim as the world’s oldest dwarf.
She was the first one to reach the booth, but did not find her name in the voters’ list.
“I have my voter ID card, and have been voting all these years. This is very upsetting,” said Bi, before returning home in Jehangirabad locality of Bhopal.
“I am surprised to find my name missing from the voters’ list. It is highly objectionable.”
Bi’s date of birth is disputed. Her voter ID card bears her year of birth as 1909, but a certificate issued by JP Government Hospital of Bhopal on March 29, 2004 mentions her age as 105 years.
Bi’s landlord Abrar Mohd Khan says the feisty centenarian loves to be the first voter at her booth and goads her family to get ready by 7.30am.
Bi confessed, “I always reach my polling booth before 8am, and try to be the first person to cast the vote. I watch TV and follow the principle of ‘pehle matdan phir doosra kaam’ (first voting, then other things).”
Teacher and Bi’s caretaker Aamir Mehboob said, “The government and administration should take special care of people like Zeenat Bi, who are known because they are different.”
Bi said she was “highly disappointed with the administration.”
When asked, booth-level officer Shafique Mohammad Khan admitted, “I think there was some negligence on part of the staff.”