Young and old, all get inked now

From a first-time voter to the elderly, everybody seemed eager to get inked on Wednesday.

The nip in the air ensured that voting began slowly in the morning, but the queues outside polling booths got longer over the day.

And there was rush at the booths again in the evening during the last minutes of voting with Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev saying that the record polling percentage of over 65 per cent surpassed expectations.

In east Delhi’s Trilokpuri, people started flocking to polling stations sharp at 8 am.
“Some 50 persons voted in the first hour of the voting exercise,” an official at a Municipal Corporation Primary school in Mayur Vihar Pahse-I said.

“Our centre has 800 votes and over 200 votes has been already polled,” he said at 10 am.

At a polling booth at an ITI in south Delhi’s Malviya Nagar constituency, 50 votes were cast in the first hour of voting. “Not a single voter in the first hour was aged between 18 and 19 years,” a polling official said.

The arrangements at at least some of the polling stations did not disappoint voters.
“A green carpet was laid on the ground and proper signage were in place. We did not face any problem in voting,” said 35-year-old homemaker Sukanya Narayanan at a Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School in north-east Delhi’s Dilshad Garden.

Many voters were seen bringing children to polling stations.

“I brought my child to inculcate in him a sense of duty. I want him to become a responsible citizen and use his right to vote when he grows up,” Tarun Jha said after casting his vote in Seemapuri constituency.

The polling stations also had a medical help desk. “There was a general help desk, and arrangements for drinking water and toilets were also in place,” said a private firm employee, Rohit Taneja, who also voted at the same polling station.

Missing names

But some voters went home disappointed as they were not allowed to vote. “My address at the voter identity card is different than that on the voting receipt. So the official didn’t allow me to vote,” Chander Bhan said after he came out of a polling station on R K Ashram Marg.

Though mobile phones, bags and helmets were not allowed in some of the polling stations, people were seen carrying cigarettes and lighters.

In south Delhi’s Greater Kailash, youngsters took pride in exercising their franchise and flashed the ink on their forefinger to TV cameras as they walked out of polling booths.
“It wasn’t very difficult. I was a little curious and anxious about how my first voting experience would be,” said Ronit, a Delhi University student.

Nisha, a homemaker from Greater Kailash, said, “There was a long queue at my booth near M-Block, but I waited patiently to complete the task that I had set out for.” 
 
In west Delhi’s Rajender Nagar constituency, a Congress worker said voting was held up at a polling station near Pusa Road ITI after BJP candidate R P Singh misbehaved with some Congress polling agents. Apart from this incident, polling went on smoothly in the constituency.

In Mehrauli, heavy traffic was seen outside polling stations despite a strong presence of police and traffic police barricading. Senior police officials regularly visited polling stations to monitor security arrangements.

“We tried our best to maintain the flow of traffic, but narrow roads in the area led to traffic jams outside several polling stations,” a head constable with Mehrauli police station said.

Zig-zag parking of vehicles by voters also added to the snarls. Several traffic officials were seen asking motorists not to park vehicles in a haphazard way and to keep vehicles moving.

Evening rush

People were seen casting their vote during the last minutes of voting.

“We are a working couple. We didn’t get time in the morning so we are here in the evening to vote,” said 52-year-old businessman Praful Tikoo outside a polling station on Panchkuian Road under Karol Bagh constituency.

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