Polling in Haryana: Senior citizens, youth lead the way in Panchkula - Hindustan Times

Polling in Haryana: Senior citizens, youth lead the way in Panchkula

By, Panchkula
May 26, 2024 08:24 AM IST

Scorching heat, lack of wheelchairs, low number of volunteers to guide them prove no obstacle for seniors in Panchkula

Enthusiastic first-time voters and senior citizens were among those who exercised their franchise early in the morning on Saturday at different polling booths across Panchkula district, despite the scorching heat.

Physical limitations notwithstanding, senior citizens from Panchkula turned up in large numbers to exercise their right to vote on Saturday. (Sant Arora/HT)
Physical limitations notwithstanding, senior citizens from Panchkula turned up in large numbers to exercise their right to vote on Saturday. (Sant Arora/HT)

As soon as polling began at 7 am, a considerable number of young first-timers voters and senior citizens were seen joining the queues.

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“There is need to generate employment for the youth. There is a need to open more institutes for higher education in the district,” said Marzina, 20, who voted in Raipur Rani along with her family.

“Every citizen should come out to vote. I have never missed voting,” said Radhika, 75, of Sector 8, Panchkula, who walked to the polling centre with the help of a stick.

“Haryana’s enlightened voters are voting for ‘badlav’,” said Chander Mohan, former deputy chief minister and Congress leader, who along with his wife, voted at Sector 8, Panchkula.

BJP candidate from Ambala constituency Banto Kataria cast her vote at Mansa Devi Complex, Sector 4, Panchkula after paying obeisance at Mata Mansa Devi.

“Long queues show that voters want Narendra Modi to become Prime Minister for the third time. Voters, especially senior citizens and youngsters, came out in large numbers for nation building,” said Banto.

Panchkula mayor Kulbhushan Goyal, along with his family, cast his vote in Sector 6. Additional deputy commissioner-cum-MC commissioner Sachin Gupta also voted in Sector 6.

Facilities leave a lot to be desired

The district administration had claimed that necessary basic facilities like water, electricity, toilets, wheelchairs, etc., had been provided at all booths in the district.

However, the number of wheelchairs failed to be adequate. Owing to this, senior citizens and people with disabilities had to wait for long to be wheeled in. Low number of volunteers compounded their troubles amid the searing heat.

At Government Sarthak Model Senior Secondary School, Sector 12A, which was a divyang polling booth, school volunteers were deployed to help voters and were seen escorting senior citizens to their vehicle and vice versa.

Haryana assembly speaker Gian Chand Gupta, along with his family, voted in Sector 17 after paying obeisance at Mata Mansa Devi temple.

“Voters pointed out unavailability of facilities at some polling centres. The Election Commission should have ensured that adequate wheelchairs as well as water were provided at all polling booths, keeping in mind the soaring temperatures,” said Gupta.

He added, “At some booths, like Government High School, Sector 17, polling was proceeding at a snail’s pace. I talked to Election Commission officers to speed up the process by deploying more staff.”

For 40 minutes, there was no power at Booth Number 23 in MDC, Sector 4, owing to an internal fault. Worse, the repair was delayed, as police did not allow the electrician to enter.

Selfie corners a hit

Selfie corners set up at various booths were a great hit with voters. After voting, residents made sure to have their pictures taken, showcasing their inked fingers. Not just youngsters, but also middle-aged and senior citizens lined up to get their photos clicked.

Voters defy mobile phone ban

Despite district authorities publicising that mobile phones will not be allowed inside polling booths, voters still arrived with their phones. ‘How can we keep our phones outside?’ questioned voters, apprehensive about leaving their devices with security staff. Those who brought mobile phones were instructed to keep them in their vehicles or leave them with the security staff.

Couple flies back from Dubai to vote

Rajesh Bindra, 61, and his wife, Poonam Bindra, 57, residents of Sector 15, rushed to the polling booth right after landing at the airport from Dubai. “Voting is our right, so we made sure to fly back to India in time to cast our vote in Panchkula,” said the couple.

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