From abroad, in a Rolls Royce, just to vote (Delhi Sidelights)

May 7th, 2009 - 7:32 pm ICT by IANS  

Bahujan Samaj Party New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) He had flown in from abroad and made heads turn at a Delhi polling booth with his Rolls Royce. Industrialist B.K. Modi, who owns a major stake in Spice Communications, made sure that he voted Thursday.
“I have come all the way from abroad especially to cast my vote,” he said showing off his inked index finger at the Aurangzeb Lane polling station in the New Delhi constituency.

“I voted. I look for a flexible leadership at the centre,” Modi said.

Other voters turned around to see who was getting off the Rolls Royce that occupied most of the narrow road leading to the polling booth. Modi and his wife had come to the polling station in the shining chauffeur-driven car.


First-time voters get some advice

Rini Sen, a first-time voter, looked nervous at a polling station in West Delhi. She was waiting for her turn when she asked her mother: “Can I press (the electronic voting machine) twice?” Her mother replied: “No.”

A woman standing in front of her gave her some advice: “Just vote for the first person on the EVM list.” Sen’s mother immediately said: “No, the third person on the EVM.” The first was BJP candidate Jagdish Mukhi and the third was Congress candidate Mahabal Mishra!

Other first-timers shared their experience with one another through SMSes. Twenty-year-old Gautam Sharma Thursday did his regular five-kilometre jog and reached the poll booth dot on time - 7 a.m.

After he voted, he SMSed his friend: “Mahabal Mishra, uper se teesra.” Mishra is the Congress candidate from West Delhi constituency and his name was third from top on the voting machine.

His friend Sahid Ahmed replied: “Ajay Maken (Congress candidate from New Delhi constituency), always on top!”

Evidently, they weren’t paying too much attention to the ballot being kept secret!


Polling booth shifted, voters miffed

Residents of Prithviraj Road in the capital’s New Delhi constituency were alarmed Thursday when they couldn’t find a polling both in the designated area. Booth number 119 was shifted to the Aurangzeb Lane polling station.

Uninformed voters went from pillar to post trying to locate their names on lists at various polling stations. After two hours of going around in circles, voters were directed to the Aurangzeb Lane polling station that housed three booths, including the one with their names.

“This is ridiculous. There was no advertisement, no notice. It’s like the government didn’t want us to vote!” said Sapra Sharma, an angry voter from Prithviraj Road.

A polling agent said: “The booth from Prithviraj Road was shifted. There has been a lot of confusion because of this - but some voters found their way. Still, not many have come to vote.”

“It’s okay for us. We were in cars. What about the voters who came on foot? When they find there is no booth, they will just go back home and not vote,” said Sharma’s neighbour Major Satish Khanna.

His wife Kiran said: “We went to and fro between Kaka Nagar and Bapa Nagar trying to locate the booth. It’s ridiculous - it took us two hours and finally a constable inquired from some emergency number!”


Senior citizen leads way

Old is gold and so it was in Dwarka, a sprawling middle class neighbourhood in West Delhi, where senior citizens led the way to the polling booth.

Kishan Dutt, 77, got up early in the morning and went to his friend’s house so the two of them could go together to the polling booth. As his friend was taking time to get ready, he left on his own.

“I was the first to vote at my polling booth,” said Dutt proudly. He flashed his index finger, the way he had seen celebrities and politicians do on TV, and asked youngsters to vote and not miss their “fundamental right”.

Some youngsters who had planned to go later in the day had to heed him and cast their votes in the first three hours of the voting.


A vote in hope of a road

Fifty-five-year-old domestic help Vimla Devi voted Thursday in the hope of a road.

The path from her Shahbad Mehmudpur village, on the outskirts of Delhi, to the residential area in Dwarka where she works was closed due to construction work of the Metro train. Earlier she could simply walk down but now she has to take a bus, which means an additional financial burden.

“I voted for the elephant,” she said as the candidate “has promised us a road”. She didn’t know the name, but was referring to the Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Deepak Bhardwaj.

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