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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Differently abled showed the way, managed poll booth in Ludhiana

As visually impaired people came to cast their vote at booth number 40 in Ludhiana during the Lok Sabha elections on Sunday , a polio-afflicted assistant presiding officer was seen showing them the way to the electronic voting machine (EVM).

lok sabha elections Updated: May 20, 2019 11:49 IST
Deepa Sharma Sood
Deepa Sharma Sood
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
lok sabha elections 2019,lok sabha polls in punjab,polling booth managed by differently abled in ludhiana
Visually impaired voters at a polling booth in Amritsar on Sunday, May 19, 2019, during the last phase of Lok Sabha elections. (HT Photo )

A polling booth managed by people with disabilities in Ludhiana on Sunday struck an emotional chord among differently abled voters during the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

As visually impaired people came to cast their vote at booth number 40, a polio-afflicted assistant presiding officer was seen showing them the way to the electronic voting machine (EVM).

The visually impaired voters were elated after casting their vote as this is the first time, they were presented a rose and a certificate of appreciation.

Also, such a booth was set up for the first time in the city.

Proving that disability is no bar, a differently abled presiding officer, an assistant presiding officer and two polling officers managed the polling booth number 40 with the help of four other support staff.

Around 15 to 18 people with disabilities exercised their franchise at the booth.

‘Disability is a matter of perception, if you can do just one thing well you are needed by someone,” read one of the banners put up in the corridor of the model polling booth set up at Bhartiya Vidya Mandir School, Kitchlu Nagar.

Hardeev Kumar, 31, a visually impaired teacher, said, “I was able to cast my vote easily as the EVM was Braille-enabled. I don’t feel I am suffering from any disability as the authorities made all the required arrangements for us.”

Lal Singh Thakur, another visually impaired voter, said, “I was provided with transport facility. When I reached there, I was asked to sit on the wheel chair. But I preferred to walk up to the room and was accompanied by NSS volunteers. I was guided into room by the deputed staff and was even provided with a voter slip in Braille script.”

Jatinder Kumar, polio-afflicted assistant presiding officer who works as a superintendent in the estate office, said, “This is for the first time that I have been given this opportunity to handle a polling booth and this is an achievement for me.”

Differently abled Rajveer Kaur, who was deputed as verification officer at the polling booth, said, “This is an important assignment. I was trained for this duty and glad that the officers selected me to perform it.”

Assistant returning officer, Ludhiana West, Jiwanjot Kaur, said, “We provided transport facility to people with disabilities. Other necessary arrangements were also made for them.”

At the polling booth 40, the authorities had arranged for disabled-friendly toilet, besides food and drinking water facilities.

First Published: May 20, 2019 11:49 IST

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