Elderly & specially-abled show highest priority to voting
NASHIK: Senior citizens and specially-abled persons, defying age and disability put their younger counterparts to shame as they trooped to polling booths on Monday, beating ill health and ailments to have their say in the state assembly elections.
As many as 33 school students from Grade IX and cadets of military school, worked as volunteers of democracy in various polling centres under Deolali and central assembly constituencies. They assisted senior citizens, physically challenged, women and new voters at these centres.
While on one hand the youngesters were showing their reluctance to cast their vote, senior citizens and the persons with disability maintained their commitment to democratic values and ethics and set voting as their highest priority in this elections too. Deshdoot Times talked to some elderly and the disabled voters about their voting right and the message they want to give to our young generation to strengthen our democracy.
Adamant to vote, an elderly person and a retired railway employee, Shri Joshi, aged 87, flashed back his narrative while voting at Deolali assembly constituency stating that during his younger days and the days of ballot papers there used to be a huge optimism and eagerness among the voters to cast their vote.
“This situation has changed now as it is evident from today’s poor response to polling despite extensive voter awareness campaigns. Every citizen must exercise his/her right to vote,” he said. An old lady, aged 60 from Deolali constituency said, “I come out of home to vote as this is what I do in every elections. I vote in every election irrespective of my political know-how. Today’s youth must take a lead to vote and strenghten our democracy.” she added.
Adv. Ashok Adke, a 60-year old elderly person who was assisting and helping people search their names in the voter list at a booth in Deolaligaon said, “This time response of voters is satisfactory but not as per expectations. I’ve been operating booth since morning to help people search their names in the voter list. People should come in large numbers to exercise their right to franchise,” he urged.
For some inconvenience, disability factor is not an issue when it comes to casting of vote. Pratap Gulabrao Deshmukh, a disabled youth in the age group of 30-35, exercised his right to vote at a polling booth in Ayurvedic Mahavidyalay, Ganeshwadi, Panchavati. The polling centre had no provision of wheelchairs meant for the disabled as per the guidelines issued by the ECI.
Earlier in the morning around 10 am, the pace of voting was slow owing to light drizzles in several polling stations of the city including B D Bhalekar and Urdu school near Sarda circle. However, enthusiasm was high among the voters at a NMC school behind Mukti Dham in Nashik Road where rush of voters observed in the morning hours.
A 99 year old lady, Hausabai Sonawane who came to exercise her right to vote said she came for good.