Theirs was a reassuring presence at poll stations

Theirs was a reassuring presence at poll stations

In the midst of a number of voters at a polling booth in Karianapalya, Lingarajapuram, two persons in distinct yellow half jackets stood out from the crowd.

They were local residents, Surekha Singh, 18, and her grandfather Sarju Singh, 72, who were busy helping and guiding voters from the area.
“We began the day by serving our homemade coffee at 6am to election workers and have been keeping a close watch here so that things go smoothly,” said Sarju, a former employee of DRDO.

The duo was a part of 1,200 strong Civil Defence volunteers who stood shoulder to shoulder with the police to ensure a trouble-free and fair polling on the day. In fact, people in the yellow jackets were an ubiquitous sight at almost all the polling stations in the City.

Starting the day at 6am, the Civil Defence volunteers were deployed in all the corners of the City. In fact, in a number of places where there was either less or no police personnel, people are reassured by the presence of these volunteers.

“These volunteers are more helpful and much friendlier than others at the booths. Not only is their presence good, but very reassuring,” said Arun Dawson, 38, a voter from Linjarajpuram.

At a number of polling stations, the Civil Defence volunteers seized canvassing materials. Elsewhere, they were seen helping the elderly cast their votes with ease, or clearing the traffic.

One of the most active and dedicated volunteers in the corps, Pavithra Raghu, 18, along with another volunteer, made frequent rounds of areas such as Shivajinagar, Frazer Town, DJ Halli and Commercial Street.

A student of Mount Carmel College, she is a parade commander in the corps. “I want to either join the police force or the Army. And my time as a Civil Defence volunteer, besides being in line with this goal, is also a way to serve my community,” she said.

By 2 pm, M S Ragesh, a senior engineer with SAP Labs, had already inspected as many as 18 police station limits in North Bangalore. He was the Civil Defence co-ordinator in Bangalore North.

“I belonged to a very poor family and have come up with the help of the community. Various scholarships and help from non-governmental organisation have helped me reach this position. Now, I want togive it back,” he said.

The effort of the Civil Defence Corps on the day was well appreciated by senior police personnel.

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