This couple may not be the brand ambassador of the Election Commission of India but they can certainly be the much-needed inspiration for the citizens of Maharashtra. Meet Devshankar and Panna, who have been defying all odds to participate in the largest celebration of democracy – the elections. Devshankar walked on all fours with wife Panna by his side at a polling booth in posh Juhu locality in Maharashtra’s capital city Mumbai in early morning house on Monday. Panna also has some difficulty in her legs. But the couple didn’t ask for any help from the polling booth officials.
Instead, they simply walked in to cast their ballots just the way they have been doing it for last 20 years. News Nation has learnt that though all arrangements were in place to help Divyang voters, Devshankar and Panna didn’t ask for any help. They were allowed to go straight to the polling booth without standing in a queue. After casting their ballot, the Divyang voters posed smiling for the media with inked fingers. Their indomitable spirit shows that there is no stopping for a strong mind.
According to the website of the Election Commission, every polling booth must assured minimum facilities to Divyang voters. These include signage, help Desk, polling booth at ground floor,obstacle free wide levelled pathway from entrance to voting compartment,Ramp as per GOI standards, Accessible Toilets, Drinking Water, Separate Entry and Exit, Lighting, accessible furniture, braille ballot guide, adjustable braille embossed EVMs, wheel chairs, booth volunteers and display of accessible posters on information pertaining to voting.
In Maharashtra BJP-Shiv Sena led ‘Mahayuti’ alliance is up against the ‘Maha-agadhi’ coalition led by the Congress and the NCP. As many as 3,237 candidates, including 235 women, are in the fray for the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly elections. The Election Commission has setup 96,661 polling booths with 6.5 lakh staffers to carry out the voting exercise. A total of 8,98,39,600 people, including 4,28,43,635 women, are eligible to exercise their franchise.
As far as the poll campaigning is concerned, the BJP made revoking provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan a major poll plank. The Congress and other Opposition parties targeted the ruling governments in both states over rising unemployment, slumping economy, farmers distress, alleged scams and "deteriorating" law and order situation.
Prominent candidates include Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis from Nagpur South-West, and his predecessors from the Congress -- Ashok Chavan, who is contesting from Bhokar in Nanded district, and Prithviraj Chavan, who is seeking a re-election from Karad South in Satara district. The BJP, under Fadnavis' leadership, is seeking a second straight term in the state. Aaditya Thackeray, the son of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, has also entered the poll fray from Worli constituency in Mumbai.