92-Year-Old, A Voter Since Independence, Felicitated in Assam

Siramjit Rabha was felicitated with a traditional ‘Gamocha’ after casting his vote in Dudhnai assembly constituency.

2 min read
Siramjit Rabha was felicitated with a traditional ‘Gamocha’ after casting his vote in Dudhnai assembly constituency.

A 92-year-old voter, who has been voting in every election since India's independence, on Tuesday, 6 March, cast his vote at a polling station in western Assam's Goalpara district, officials said.

Election officials said that nonagenarian Siramjit Rabha was felicitated with a traditional 'gamocha' after he cast his vote at Kothakuthi Lower Primary School under the Dudhnai Assembly constituency. The 'gamocha' is a white piece of cloth with a red border having a customary pattern, which is almost synonymous with Assamese culture.

Rabha, who came to the polling station escorted by his family members, told the media that he has been voting in every election since independence.

At another place, a young woman holding her new-born baby cast her vote while a large number of otherwise abled voters assisted by the polling officials cast their votes in various polling stations.

Like the elderly voters, physically challenged, women and first time voters were also greeted to encourage participation in the festival of democracy. The poll officials felicitated the new generation and women voters with saplings of various varieties . A Model polling station in Ambari under Goalpara West constituency features elements of Assamese culture and a children's play area, where parents kept their children while they cast their votes.

Of Assam’s 2,33,74,087 voters, 2,89,474 electorates are 80 years old or above while 1,38,290 are People with Disabilities (PwD) and 12,81,918 are new enrolment mostly first time voters.

The election officials said that e-rickshaw facilities were also made available to the voters aged 60 years and above, especially to those who have difficulty in moving. They are also being felicitated for their will to cast their votes.

Election officials said that to avoid crowding, the number of voters for every booth has been brought down to a maximum of 1,000. As a result, the number of polling booths has been augmented by 34.71 percent to 33,530 across Assam (in all three phases) from 24,890 in 2016. To avoid direct contact with the Electronic Voting Machines, every voter is being given hand gloves.

The Election Commission for the first time arranged postal ballots for the Covid-19 infected people and those above the age of 80 years, which were held two weeks before the polling began. The EC had earlier said that all the voters in certain categories would have to apply within five days of notification of elections if they wished to use the option of postal ballot for voting.

Election officials said that a polling team comprising two officials along with a videographer and security staff went to the elector's house along with a voting compartment to get the elector to vote using postal ballot by maintaining complete secrecy.

(This story has been published in an arrangement with IANS)

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