Mumbai: ECI’s tall claim of ‘arrangements’ at the booths fall flat on poll day

Mumbai: The tall claims made by the Election Commission of India (ECI) regarding the ‘arrangements’ at the polling booths, fell flat on Monday, when Mumbaikars stepped out to vote. Citizens complained of no proper facilities, poor guidance for them at various polling booths in the city.

Notably, this time the ECI had spent a huge amount on the advertisements, urging the citizens to come out and vote. The polling authority had also conducted several street-plays and flash-mobs for creating awareness among voters.

The ECI in its official press note had stated it would be providing a range of facilities like wheelchairs for differently-abled and senior citizens, vehicles for bringing senior citizens and other voters to the polling booths.

But the ground reality seemed to be much different than what the ECI claimed. “There was no proper arrangements for voters like no drinking water facility, no space to sit as there were long queues. The serpentine lines compelled voters to stand for hours altogether,” said Sunil Kandera, a resident of BARC.

Another resident from Chembur, Raj Kumar, said, “The ECI officials behaved in a rather rude manner and not all were coordinating or seen to guide citizens. Several senior citizens had to stand for hours to vote, however, they were taken separately and allowed to vote.”

The ‘promise’ of providing wheelchair and vehicles for differently-abled too turned out to be much of a ‘poll promise.’ There were no volunteers to assist the differently-abled.

“My sister cannot walk and two of us had to help her to reach the polling booth. She was not given any help like a wheel chair or given a priority despite her injury,” complained a Mahim resident, who did not wished to be named. “My mom is also an infirm and she too requires help in walking. We could not bring her as we were already helping our sister to walk up to the polling booth,” the resident added.

Citizens also complained of discrimination with celebrities being given a VVIP treatment, compared to them. “There were some celebrities at our booth when we were there. They were given VIP treatment with all police protection and the common public was left behind in the long queues,” lamented Kandera.

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