Arunachal Pradesh wore a festive look today with enthusiastic youth and women voters flocking polling booths since early morning to cast their votes for the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Braving inclement weather after overnight downpour, voters thronged polling booths since 6 AM, an hour before polling, to exercise their franchise in their best outfits. Long queues of women and youth could be seen in most of the polling stations waiting patiently for their turn to cast their votes. "We want to cast our vote as early as possible because we will have to attend to household chores for the rest of the day," said 45-year-old Godak Yami from Niti Vihar. We want to be a part of the democratic process and prove our importance in decision making," housewife Supriya Majumdar of Chimpu area said.
Prominent voters like Governor Lt Gen (Retd) Nirbhay Singh and his wife cast their votes from a polling booth near the Raj Bhawan.
Chief Minister Nabam Tuki also exercised his franchise from Sagalee constituency in Papum Pare district. Massive campaign by the district administrations to create awareness among voters to exercise their franchise has been successful in the state with a large turnout of electorate in the morning hours despite inclement weather, Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhusan Kumar said. Youths, including first time voters in the state comprising 12.5 per cent of the total electorate of 7,53,150, also flocked to the booths in hordes. "I am very excited to cast my vote for the first time. I am aware that my vote is valuable and will not let it go waste", Tai Natam of Pachin Colony said.
Eighteen-year-old Oie Jerang from Itanagar, said he does not understand the nuances of politics, nor is he interested in the ever-changing promises political parties make. "I dream of a better life and will vote for a party that will help me in this endeavour," says Jerang. "I am excited about voting for the first time. More women should come out and vote for a better Arunachal and better India. I will vote for that candidate whom I think, can do something for the state as well as for the country," said Yai Tapi, a student of Government Higher Secondary school Itanagar.
Elderly people, assisted by relatives, were also seen outside the booths with many making way for them to cast their vote early so that they did not have to wait in queues for their turn.
For Yakh Kamdak, a woman in her late seventies, no party which, comes to power matters. She wants development especially in infrastructure, education and health sectors. "The new government should frame a clear-cut policy for improving the law and order scenario of the state," she said.
82-year old T Hamu from Poma, a village in the vicinity of the state capital, who has always cast his vote, said that he would continue to vote till he is alive. "I will exercise my vote according to my conscience and hope that the new government in offing will work for people's development in the true sense", he said.
For most of the voters in the state, development, better roads connectivity, improvement in law and order and check in price rise are the major issues that need to be addressed by the new government.