Guwahati: Special steps taken by the election department to attract voters to the polling station struck a chord with the electorate in Kamrup (Metro) district on Monday. Voters made a beeline for the polling stations since before dawn to win a medal for being the day's first five voters to exercise their franchise in constituencies under the Kamrup (Metro) district.
"I reached the polling station at around 4 AM and I received a medal for being the first in my polling station to vote," 54-year-old banker Arup Das said after casting his vote at 222 Dispur Secondary School. An excited 22-year-old Jahnabi Sarmah said she reached the polling station in Gauhati (West) constituency at 6 AM and was given the medal for being the first woman in the state. The model polling station in Rabindra Bhawan, the cultural hub here, also attracted a lot of attention with children accompanying their parents enjoying themselves in a special area set up for them and senior citizens resting in a area earmarked particularly for them.
"I am very happy that election officials have set up a special area where we can rest and not stand in queue before casting our votes," 67-year-old Anis Zaman said. Several elderly people were seen being greeted by officials at many polling stations and escorted to an area specially set up for them. Differently-abled voters were also seen coming in wheel chairs and some in crutches or assisted by family members in quite a few polling stations.
"I had read in newspapers that the Election Commission has made special arrangements for differently-abled persons to cast their vote and I had decided that nothing will stop me from doing so this time," 39-year-old wheel-chair bound Ashok Kalita said.
Many first time voters like Megha Sharma came to the polling booth with her friends and did not mind waiting for around three hours in queue to cast her vote. "We are very enthusiastic about voting for the first time. It does not matter that we have to wait for long in the queue but nothing will stop us from exercising our franchise for the first time," Sharma said.