Lucknow: Women voters dominant in polling booths

With Lucknow voting today in the 4th phase of polling for the UP Assembly elections, there is a huge debate going on about who will form the next govt. The voter turnout too has been well in the city

Visuals from a polling booth
Visuals from a polling booth

Garima Sadhwani

Two separate lines for men and women are maintained outside each classroom. Every single person in the lines is carrying three documents- their voter ID, another ID card (Aadhar or Driving License in most cases), and their electoral slips. Armed security officials are standing outside each room.

One security official tells another to let the ailing old woman go first, she has trouble standing. Two women are talking about how they’ve left their phones back at home, because why bring it all the way to the polling booth only to keep it in the car? There is hustle-bustle all around. It’s the festival of democracy in Lucknow.

With Lucknow voting today in the fourth phase of polling for the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, there is a huge debate going on about who will form the next government. The voter turnout too has been well in the city.

According to IANS, till 3 pm today, UP saw a voter turnout of 49.89%. Hargyan Singh, a government official manning the help-desk at Navyug Kanya Mahavidyalaya, says that around 50% people in his list had already cast their voters by 1:30 pm. Says he, “The line has not broken once since 7 am. And we are seeing more women than men casting their votes.”

Ask them how many people with physical disabilities have come out to vote, and Vinod, another official, shares that while the polling booth had a total list of 15 such names, only five people had turned up to vote. Pointing to his plastered leg, Vinod says, “My leg is broken so I can’t go to bring the handicapped voters from home. And not many people have been assigned that duty here.” The only PwD people then who are able to cast their vote at this polling booth are the ones coming on their own.

However, that’s not the case in all of Lucknow. People on Twitter have been sharing images of UP Police officials carrying PwD voters to the polling booth in their wheelchairs since morning.

But did everyone who reached the polling booths get the opportunity to vote? No. Singh shares that there were a few people who turned up but whose names were missing in the voter's list. “People who’ve been living outside the city for long, or who moved somewhere else, or who were not at home during the survey, their names might have been deleted from the electoral list. Now even if they come, what can we do?” asks Singh.

A few Twitter users too raised this concern. Aeman Rasul took to Twitter to share a video of Rajesh Yadav who was not allowed to vote even though he had a voter ID and Aadhaar card because his name was missing from the list.

Similar was the case at Exon Montessori School where six people were denied their right to vote.

But there must be some mechanism to overcome this, isn’t it? The Election Commission’s website says that if your name is missing, you can fill up various forms in case you’ve changed your address, or your name is misspelled or some such reason. But shouldn’t there be someone on the help desk helping people out with what they can do in such a scenario at the moment? Vinod sighs, “Humein toh kuch nahi pata inn forms ke baare mei.

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