As a responsible citizen, I woke up today morning and completed my household chores as soon as possible so that I could rush to cast my vote. By 10.30 a.m. I was at an Andheri East Municipal School which was my voting center. There was a big queue for voting; I could see a lot of elderly people waiting in the line, I could also see many people who didn’t know they had to get their voting slip. A lot of them panicked and many rushed back home to get the slip; some requested and pleaded with election officials to allow them to vote because they were getting late for work.
After standing in the queue for 45 minutes, it was my turn to vote. One of the helpers, who was from the Shiv Sena asked for my voting ID Card and voting slip. I said, “I had applied for my Election Card online. I have all the details of the same but I don’t have the Election Card in hand because it was not posted, hence I don’t have my voting slip either.” He immediately replied, “Voting Card nahin hai toh vote mat karo.” I got very pissed with his statement. I requested him to check my details online, “You will be able to find out that I have applied for my Election Card ID which has been approved but haven’t received it in hand by post because it’s not been dispatched from the Head Election Office yet. And this was not my fault; hence you can’t stop me from voting.”
He then said, “Arre madam, yahan time nahi hain sab check karneko.” I said, “That’s your fault if you don’t have time. I would like some other official to take care of this, someone who cares about people who want to vote. And if you don’t allow me to vote, I will call the news reporters and cops so that they can tell the world that a citizen of India wants to vote but the officials in the voting center don’t have time to help her out”.
He then asked his colleague to find details about me: Have I applied for the Election Card? Do I have my Passport, Aadhar Card and Pan Card? Whether I have been residing in Mumbai since past 15 years? All my details were there, and it was all fine. Other people in the line stood up for me many of them said that yes she has all the right to vote today.
After a lot of commotion, he finally allowed me to vote. I entered the polling booth, cast my vote and left.
This was a sad experience. Despite being an eligible citizen I had to struggle a lot to vote for my candidate today. I wonder how many others like me simply turned and walked away when they were told they couldn’t vote.