Delhiites give a thumbs up to model polling stations

New Delhi, Dec 5 : Equipped with better infrastructure, better crowd management, prominent signages, and first aid facilities, the model polling stations - a new initiative of the state election commission for Wednesday's elections - were given a thumbs up by Delhi voters.

Sharing her experience, 19-year-old first time voter Radhika Sharma said: "I was impressed by my polling station. It was indeed a good experience. It was very clean and well-managed."

Sharma, who had gone with two friends to cast her vote in Hari Nagar assembly constituency, said she came to know only later that her polling booth was a "model one".

"I think, the election commission should try to create similar amenities in other polling stations too," Sharma told IANS.

"If such booths are set up every time, I am sure a lot of people will change their indifferent mindset and come out to vote," she added.

This year, the Election Commission set up nine model polling stations, one in each administrative district, to provide improved facilities to the voters. These stations were at Shalimar Bagh, Seemapuri, Laxmi Nagar, Chhatarpur, Najafgarh, Hari Nagar, Rithala, Chandni Chowk and New Delhi.

For 55-year old Suman Kaushash from Laxmi Nagar, it was easy to reach her polling booth this time.

"I had not voted last time. So this time, I was keen to go. But, as I am bad with directions, I was little hesitant too. But this time the election commission had arranged legible signages (to the polling booth and inside its premises) that directed me correctly," Kaushash told IANS.

A record 65.86 percent of Delhi's 11.9 million electors cast ballot till 8 p.m. Wednesday to elect a new 70-member house from amongst 810 candidates.

This time, arrangements were also made for voters to reach the poll venue by battery-powered e-rickshaws.

It was so in the Laxmi Nagar constituency from the nearest bus stop to the polling booth.

The assembly constituency recorded one of the highest voter turnout among other model booths.

"The booth recorded a 74.6 percent voter turnout this year. The booth was clean, with better basic facilities, including ramps, for the voters," a returning officer at the Laxmi Nagar polling station told IANS.

With a 62 percent voter turnout at the Wazirpur model polling booth, a returning officer at the station said: "Voters appreciated the new initiative taken by the Election Commission to bring reforms in the electoral procedure."

Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev also praised the initiative that encouraged more people to vote.

He said the model polling stations with its "better infrastructure, better queue management" resulted in "better voting experience".

The Election Commission had also tried to make the polling experience a better one. It included introducing Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), which allowed a voter to verify his voting details through a transparent window.

However, it was introduced only in the high-profile New Delhi constituency.

Also, the poll panel had included live webcasting of the polling procedure at sensitive polling booths, along with the model polling stations.

--IANS (Posted on 05-12-2013)

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