Voter card is just an identity proof for many

April 2nd, 2009 - 1:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, April 2 (IANS) Even as a large number of people, especially young first-time voters, are looking forward to casting their ballot, there are quite a few who are content to use their voter card just as a proof of identity.
“I got my voter I-card made because it works as an identity proof in many places. I have no interest in politics and I’m not going to vote. I think choosing a leader in today’s political scene is like choosing bad from worse,” Kanika Vanvari, a Delhi College of Engineering student, told IANS.

“After listening to Varun Gandhi’s hate speech and nomination of criminals by political parties, I don’t want to vote. I think people should abstain from voting and teach these politicians a lesson,” said another student, Teena Jha.

“I am happy enough to have my voter ID as an identity proof during identity verification in different institutes or while renting a house or getting an internet connection. It is better than having to vote for a candidate you don’t really believe in.”

Similarly, for Sarita Devi, who works as a domestic maid, getting her voter I-card this time has come as a huge relief - not because she wants to exercise her franchise but because having an identity proof makes life more convenient.

“My husband and I migrated from Darbhanga (Bihar) to Delhi six years ago. But without any identity and residential proof things have been very difficult. Sometimes they ask for identity proof in the homes that I go to work in and I don’t have anything to show. Even getting a mobile phone connection is difficult. So getting this voter ID is a boon,” she said.

But when asked if she will use her card to vote this time, Sarita Devi sounded hesitant.

“I don’t know. I have no idea about politics and whom should I vote for? In any case, whether it is a new government or new leader, for the poor things hardly change. If they did, I would not be working here. They (politicians) all make empty promises.”

No wonder then that one of the primary concerns of Delhi chief electoral officer Satbir Silas Bedi is to motivate people, especially those who are already registered in the electoral rolls, to come out and vote.

“One of the most pressing problems is that people who are registered and have valid voter I-cards don’t cast their votes. They use the I-card for all other purposes, as an identity proof in airports, to get phone connections, but not for what it’s meant,” Bedi told IANS.

Bedi said that in the Delhi assembly elections in November last year, of the 10.6 million people eligible to vote, four million did not. Of those four million, 2.5 million had valid voter I-cards.

But there are many people like Vandana Khavadiya, a final year journalism student, who believe that each vote counts.

“Even though I think politics is a dirty game, I can’t ignore my responsibilities as a citizen. I will make sure that I vote since this is the first time for me. Each vote counts. My voter I-card is just not an official document I use for availing myself of different services but is primarily meant for exercising my right to choose my own leader,” Khavadiya said.

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