Voters were left puzzled when they found their left ring finger being daubed with indelible ink instead of the index finger during the MCD polls in the city.
Singer Shubha Mudgal was among those who expressed surprise at the move.“Don’t remember this finger being inked earlier but that’s how it was done today in MCD Election 2017,” she tweeted yesterday.
Shadiq (29), an accountant who voted in the Chandni Chowk ward under the eponymous Assembly constituency yesterday, said he asked the staff if the rules had been changed.
The change was effected by a notification issued by the government, stating that a voter’s left ring finger and not the forefinger was to be inked.
The move was necessitated by the back-to-back Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) polls and Rajouri Garden Assembly bye-elections in the city which preceded the MCD elections.
The Commission had earlier issued directions to returning officers of Ward 5S to Ward 8S falling in the Rajouri Garden Assembly Constituency to ink voters’ left middle fingers.
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“However, the Election Commission approved putting indelible mark on the left middle finger of the electors of Rajouri Garden for the bye-election held on April 9,” the State Election Commission said.
“It is hereby ordered that the indelible mark be made on the left ring finger of electors in all the three municipal corporations of Delhi during the MCD elections to be held on April 23,” it said in a recent order.
Shadiq said, “Ok, so things have changed. I wasn’t aware the State Election Commission had come up with a different rule for the civic polls. But, I think, it is a good omen, and hopefully, things in MCD would also change after the polls.”
Elsewhere too people were surprised.
“I went early morning with my family to the polling booth in our ward. But they asked to ink my left ring finger. I thought it was a joke until the staff told me the rule,” Punit Narula, a resident of Dayanand Colony, said.
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Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his family, his deputy Manish Sisodia, Union minister Vijay Goel and Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken had also obliged photographers by flashing their inked left ring fingers yesterday.
Maken, who lives in west Delhi, had his middle finger inked earlier during the Rajouri Garden bypolls, in which his party finished second.
As many as 71,39,994 votes were polled in the contest that had the BJP, the Congress and the AAP engaged in a fierce battle. The municipal polls saw a voter turnout of 53.58 per cent that surpassed the 2012 figure of 53.43.
The erstwhile unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated in 2012 into North, South and East Municipal Corporation or NDMC, SDMC and EDMC respectively.
The BJP has been ruling the MCD since 2007. The last polls were held in 2012.