Among its other initiatives, the Election Commission (EC) on Sunday made special arrangements for the handicapped people as well as centenarian voters across Delhi during the sixth phase of Lok Sabha elections.
The EC also deployed Accessibility Observers (AO) for the elections to ensure maximum participation by people with disabilities and those who are above 90 years of age.
By appointing civil defence personnel, the EC ensured that all the handicapped persons and centenarian voters could use the vehicles positioned to help them visit their nearby polling stations to exercise their franchise.
At least three to five civil defence personnel were deployed in each of the 13,816 polling stations established at 2,700 locations in all the seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi.
Two to three wheel chairs were available at every polling booth while a four-wheel vehicle was arranged to pick and drop the handicapped and centenarian voters of the area covering maximum number of polling stations.
The handicapped and centenarian people, as per the information shared by civil defence staff Ajit Kumar Singh, were even telephoned a day before polling to inform them about the vehicle arrangements.
"We contacted the family of every handicapped and centenarian voter on Saturday over telephone, asking them to avail the vehicle facilities being provided by the Election Commission if they needed it. We brought the handicapped voters to their respective polling booths and dropped them home after they cast their votes," Singh said.
Asked about the number of civil defence staff deployed in each polling booth, Singh said the numbers varied as per the need. "However, three to four civil defence staff were deputed in each polling booth. Our booth had five persons, including two women," he said.
Another civil defence staff at Ghazipur polling station, Anuj Saxena, said that wheelchair facility was provided by the EC for many elections held in the past, but the vehicle facility was a new initiative.
"The move is aimed at encouraging the handicapped and centenarian voters to exercise their fundamental right. The EC's aim is to give such voters special attention so that they could feel how important they are for the government."
Of the 1.43 crore voters in Delhi, there are around 2,000 handicapped voters and 90 voters above the age of 100 years.
(Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)