Not many takers for home voting in Chhattisgarh

The Election Commission said that the response has not been heartening but will surely improve in the coming years.
An elderly woman vote from home.
An elderly woman vote from home.Photo | EPS

RAIPUR : The Election Commission of India’s (EC) pioneering initiative to facilitate home voting, introduced for the first time in the parliamentary polls for elderly citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), did not find many takers in Chhattisgarh.

Aimed at making the electoral process all-inclusive and accessible by enabling the voting convenient for eligible citizens above 85 years of age and PwDs with 40 per cent benchmark disability, the new move gives them an opportunity and a privilege to choose to exercise their right to franchise from home in the new move as part of festival of democracy.

Despite the facility of home voting offered by the Commission kept easy, the initiative evidently couldn’t generate much appeal to persuade or motivate the eligible voters who were required to complete Form 12D within five days of the election notification and submit it to the returning officer. The PwD voters have to provide a certificate on their baseline disability along with their applications.

Elections in Chhattisgarh are in three phases—April 19, April 26 and May 7. According to the data acquired from the state chief electoral office, in the first phase of the restive Bastar constituency where the elector count of elderly citizens and PwD are 16,190, only 254 applications were received and 223 voted sitting at home.

The second phase comprising three Lok Sabha seats too didn’t evoke a promising response as many were not inspired with the EC’s offer. Only 1,346 applications were received out of the eligible 67,950 voters (16,644 were 85+ and 51,306 as PwDs) and 1,267 of them availed the facility.

In the third phase covering seven constituencies, there are 1,91,196 eligible for home voting out of the 1.39 crore voters. However, in this phase, the total applications received were 2,927 and till 2 May 2,687 have voted. Only those voters whose applications were received can only be entitled for home voting facility.

The official admitted the response has not been heartening but will surely improve in the coming years.

“One plausible reason for less applications received could perhaps be that senior citizens or PwDs might like to join as vibrant voter participation, keep the zeal high on polling day to realise it as #DeshkaGarv or f#ChunavkaParv by visiting the polling centres. Still some might be out of their place of living for individual causes or perhaps health reasons”, the officer added. In the 2019, BJP won nine out of the 11 seats, while Congress had two.

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The New Indian Express