Lok Sabha Elections 2024: PwDs vote in large numbers despite difficulties

- May 25, 2024
| By : Saurav Gupta |

Persons with Disabilities exercise their franchise for more friendly roads and infrastructure; some upset with insufficient facilities at the polling booths

Election 2024 Delhi: PwDs vote in large numbers despite difficulties

Election 2024 Delhi: Despite the scorching heat in the national capital, Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) are coming out in large numbers to cast their vote in the Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

Vidya Sagar Sarin, 94, returned from Canada four days ago just to cast his vote and participate in the biggest festival of democracy.

Sarin exercised his right to vote at the polling station situated at Greater Kailash – 1.

“I returned from Canada four days ago just to cast my vote and to choose the leader of our country. Many things have changed in the last 10 years. But we want more development,” said Sarin.

“I have a home in Greater Kailash — 1. The major concern in the locality is that the footpaths are broken and there are several potholes on the roads. I cannot walk without a crutch. It becomes very difficult for me to walk on the streets,” Sarin said.

Jayant De, 71, said, “I want development in my nation. I am casting my vote to ensure that the country moves forward in the coming five years.

“I want the road infrastructure of the city to improve so that the travelling time for commuters is reduced. The government should focus on strengthening the public transport sector of the city so that it is helpful for the PwDs in commuting from one place to another,” de said.

Jayant De availed the pick-and-drop service offered by the State Election Commission (SEC) for the senior citizens and the PwDs in Delhi.

Making his entry known on a disability scooter, getting it parked at the open parking space, which doubles as a road, in front of the Government Girls’ Senior Secondary School in Shastri Park, Ravi Kushwaha hurtled his way to the polling station, limping in measured steps under the streamers of the model booth.

On his way back from the station, his concerns highlighted how unfriendly polling booths were to the disabled.

“They have only two wheelchairs here. As luck would have it both were in use when I entered. I know that there are not many disabled people who come to vote but when they are using the same wheelchairs for senior citizens, they should at least have three or four wheelchairs in total,” he said.

He further added that the unfriendly infrastructure for disabled was not new to polling booths but also to the city in its entirety.

Also read: Lok Sabha Polls: Crime, traffic snarls key concerns in West Delhi

“There is a lack of ramps and a lack of sensitivity. I want a government that is more human towards us but nobody has actually worked for us,” the 42-year-old said.

Similar concerns were highlighted by Aditya Singh, who has been suffering from cataract for a long time.

“There is not much to say. There are volunteers here which is a great thing for people like me, but some also prefer going alone by themselves. For them, there are no railings or any indicator to guide them to the station,” he said.

Singh, 72, had come with his family to cast his vote, being guided by his son to the polling station.

Seventy-six-year-old Raoji Bhai Patel, a PwD who was brought on the wheelchair to the polling station by his son, said that voting is his basic right and no one can stop him from it.

“We have to vote. It is our right,” said Patel, who voted at Nigam Utkrisht Vidayala Moti Nagar, New Delhi.

When asked about the issues that need to be addressed by the authorities, he said, “There is a serious need for good governance. We want to see that development through good roads, infrastructure and other facilities. I am voting for a good representative who can highlight our demands.”

Kusam Sharma, 68, said that her vote is for women’s security.

“Women are feeling insecure due to rising crime in Delhi. There should be strong security measures in place for women so that they can venture out without any fear.”

Authorities should also come up with more job opportunities for the educated youth, she said.

A polling official at the station told Patriot that they are allowing the PwDs to vote on priority basis.

“We have also kept a separate toilet facility for them at the station,” she said.

(With inputs from Idrees Bukhtiyar and Kushan Niyogi)