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First-time voters feel empowered

india Updated: Oct 14, 2009 01:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
assembly polls

The smudged ink stain on her index finger makes Uchita Shah (21) feel “really empowered”.

“I am loving it more than any nail art,” said the first-time voter from Kandivli (West) as she flaunted the proof that she had voted on Tuesday. “I feel so grown up.”

Tuesday was an exciting day for youngsters who cast their vote for the first time.

While for Shah it came easily, Sheikh Tufail Rashid Ahmed (19) had to do a bit of running around before he got inked as his name was misspelt as ‘Nufel’ on the Kapadia Nagar voter list in Kalina.

Tufail was allowed to vote only after he convinced the polling booth official with appropriate identity proof.
“I wanted to see what the voting machine looks like. Now I have also used it,” he said.

For Gamdevi resident, Deesha Vijay Asher, who turned 18 just two weeks before the Assembly polls, not being able to vote was a bad miss.

“I didn’t realise I had to do the registration process a few months before. I am upset about missing my chance to vote,” said Asher, a first-year degree student from Jai Hind College.

What disappointed the first-timers was the low voter turnout. Rekha Mayavanshi (22) from Colaba had expected many more people and a long queue at the polling station. “There was hardly anyone at the booth,” she said.

Khar resident Bhuvan Thakker (19), a student of Raheja College, was also upset with the poor response.

Thakker was not only a fist-time voter but had also volunteered with the Khar Residents Association and Action for Good Governance in India to get people to vote.

Thakker’s college-mate Nupoor Monani (21), a resident of Ghatkopar (East), said: “When I arrived at my polling station in Ghatkopar to vote, there was no queue and it took hardly any time.”

Thakker explained why he was so excited about voting.

“Till now I could not do much about the bad state of affairs and corrupt politicians. I can now vote to oust them,” he said.

(Inputs from Naziya Alvi, Bhavya Dore & Sayli Udas Mankikar)

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