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Despite odds, they show up for election duty

Nearly  3.5 lakh government staff have been appointed for election duty the coming week, to monitor Karnataka’s most anticipated election.

Published: 12th May 2018 05:14 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th May 2018 07:10 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Nearly  3.5 lakh government staff have been appointed for election duty the coming week, to monitor Karnataka’s most anticipated election. While Kannadigas watch the battle eagerly from their screens, these government employees, of all cadres, are set to face their personal battle on the day. Speaking to TNIE, Shantala (name changed) a government employee has been deputed as an officer. “A pregnant lady was put on training duty on May 7. Her senior officer refused to excuse her. They asked her to have a caesarean operation on Monday, post the elections. I took on her work responsibilities too and asked her to apply for a few days leave. On Thursday, she delivered a baby boy.” 

Another election staffer whose husband is in the last stage of stomach cancer has been posted in Bengaluru, and she is struggling to accept that she would be away from her loved one during his final battle.  “I have left my housemaid to be with my husband. The doctors have given him a few more days after his chemo ended. I have to be with him but despite repeated requests, I’m put on election duty,” she said as she broke down in tears. She was hoping someone else would fill in for her. 

Serving his last days at work, Shivappa, who is employed with the water supply department, said, “Next week is my last working day. As my career comes to an end, I am working on this election.” But, he has no regrets and is one of the few who are enthusiastic. Roopashree and her colleague Hemalatha, both Heath Department officials, were seen excited as this is their first election posting. “We didn’t know what exactly happens. We are curious and are ready to do what our officers instruct us. The training session was helpful,” she said.

Speaking to TNIE, Ujjwal Kumar Ghosh, Additional CEO, said, “Ever case is different, therefore the higher officer takes the call. For Bengaluru, the BBMP Commissioner is in charge. ”Under the exemption category, staff facing various issues, including family matter or personal health, were exempted. “IT officers and Excise Department staff also fall under the exempted category.”

Poll staff ‘denied’ food, stage protest in Hubballi
Hubballi: The staff deployed for election duty staged a protest at a mustering centre at Women’s Polytechnic here on Friday alleging that the district administration has not provided them food and water till noon.  They reached the mustering centre to collect EVMs and other poll material meant for Hubballi-Dharwad Central constituency on Friday morning, but were allegedly not provided breakfast even after 12 noon. In the afternoon, the staff launched a protest against the authorities for their careless approach. Some staff had a verbal dual with returning officer Ibrahim Maigur for mismanagement. “We are not beggars. The authorities should provide us basic facilities. We need food and water,” they said. 

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