With the Lok Sabha elections taking place in Pune today, April 23, the city was all set to vote. However, with limited percentage of Punites voting today, the scenario at the end of the day is alarming. The citizens were found to be extremely enthusiastic but few provisions were made by the government accordingly.
There was allegedly utter chaos and mismanagement at most of the polling booths across the city today. Voters’ lists were not easily available. As the waiting lines grew longer, the voting process grew tiresome. Some voters walked off without voting even after waiting in line for several hours. This shows that either the number of polling booths were insufficient or not amply equipped.
The presiding officers were not sufficiently informed about all voting procedures which led to further delay in the voting process. Some of them were not aware about which finger was to be marked after the voting. They were not aware of the Rule 49-o of The Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961. It is the duty of the presiding officer to make form 17A available to any voter who asks for it and thus ensure that the vote of that citizen is not wasted. However, there were many instances today when this form was denied to voters.
“The most tedious part of the entire process was finding my name in the list as I was told I would not be allowed to vote without that number. I felt completely dejected by the end of it” says a voter who wishes to remain unnamed.
There was mismanagement at booths put up by the government as some booklets of lists had disappeared or certain pages were missing from these booklets. Therefore people had to go to the booths set up by political parties to check if their name had appeared in the lists. These booths were overcrowded.
“The volunteers of Parivartan were working at various polling booths helping people to find their names in the lists. Therefore we experienced firsthand that the effort was completely futile” said a few volunteers, who are members of this independent organization working on various election and voting issues.
After such experiences as these, it evidently becomes increasingly important for voters to be aware of such provisions instead of relying on other last- minute sources for information.