A much improved election (Sidelights)

New Delhi, April 10: It was largely a cleaner, more orderly and more efficient election. The Election Commission of India, learning from experiences of past elections, keeps improving and innovating so that each election becomes better than the previous one.

There were fewer complaints of missing voters or lack of facilities or unhelpfulness of poll staff and police. And with the city catering to an electorate of over 12 million, this was no feat.

Said Amlan Chatterjee, a veteran voter of Chittaranjan Park in the New Delhi constituency: “Things were much more orderly in this election, than in the assembly election in November. It appears that the Election Commission took note of past complaints and set them right. Was happy to see neat and orderly polling booths as well.”

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Missing wheelchairs in some places

Not that everything was hunky-dory. In one of the polling stations in East Delhi constituency’s Jamia Nagar, the elderly voters had to walk around 400 meters from the gate to cast their ballots.

“The polling booth was far from the entrance gate and I had to walk all the way. There should have been a vehicle to ferry us elderly people up to the booth,” Sohail Ahmed, 65, told IANS.

The Election Commission had sought for provision to station wheelchairs at every poll station for senior citizens and the disabled.

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Northeastern security concerns

Among Delhi’s voters there were many from northeastern states, who had come here to work or study, who voted with women’s security on their minds.

“We want to choose a stable government, but also want an environment that is safer for women from our states,” Vipuni, 29, who hails from Manipur, told IANS.

“We also want that the elected government should bring development in the northeast states, which has been ignored so far,” Thaingamulu, a 20-year-old from Imphal, told IANS.

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None Of The Above

Not everyone voted for political parties. The NOTA button was sought after by some people.

“I did not have an off today as I am employed in an essential service, but I went all the way and opted for NOTA,” Madhvi, who cast her ballot in Laxmi Nagar area in East Delhi, told IANS.

“Unless there is a significant percentage of votes going to NOTA there will be no worth having this option,” she added.

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No Mobiles Please!

There was strict frisking and checking of voters to ensure no one carried mobile phones to the polling booth. Security personnel were asking all voters if they were carrying their mobile phones with them.

But in some upscale colonies, checking was lax and some voters walked in with their mobile phones.

“No one asked me not to take the mobile phone. I walked in, voted and went out,” said Parvinder, a resident of New Delhi constituency.

–Indo-Asian New Service

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IANS