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Handicapped take big step to vote strong government

Friday, 25 April 2014 - 9:00am IST | Agency: dna

  • Vimal Bhargav, 84, shows her inked finger to the media at the Navjeevan Vidhya Bhavan polling station in Bandra (E) on Thursday; (below) Suresh Maharana, who lost his leg in a train accident, after casting his vote in Borivli. —Mustafa Plumber, Shraddha Bhargava Chaturvedi /dna

The determination of many physically challenged voters who got out to cast their vote on Thursday was a lesson for those who chose to neglect their responsibility to exercise their franchise.

Each of them overcame personal hardship to make it to the polling stations to get the index finger inked. And the election commission did its bit to make things a little easier by installing ramps and getting in wheelchairs for these voters.

Vimal Bhargav, 84, of MIG Colony, Bandra, was not so lucky and her son Anil had to pick her up to get into the polling station at Navjeevan Vidhya Bhavan, where there was no ramp. "We had read that there would be facilities for senior citizens and the handicapped, but there were none here. I hope they will give a proper thought to the needs of such people the next time," Bhargav said.

Snehal Lad, 75, who was operated on recently, voted at Balmohan Mandir School, Shivaji Park. A metal pipe fitted in the leg to help her cope up with arthritis has made it painful for her to move about, but it did not stop her from going to vote.

Suresh Maharana who lost his leg in a train accident in 2001 has not lost hope. "I voted so we have a sustainable government. I hope we get a government that will support people like me," said the 32-year-old resident of Link Road, Borivli.

The self-employed young man helps people make such important documents as ration cards, PAN cards, Aadhar and voter IDs, passports, driving licences and so on. "I also take up bill payments for those who don't like long queues," he said.

Chandrakant Shah, 88, reached the polling station in Walkeshwar with help from his daughter. "I felt the steps a bit too steep and there was no railing to hold on to for support," said Shah after casting his vote.

Nehal Shah was not deterred by the ailments she has suffered in the past couple of years. "I had decided that I will get out and vote and I did. The election staff have done good work and there was nothing to worry about," said the 44-year-old, who voted at the Kawale Muth municipal school polling centre in Malabar Hill.

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