Devoted Voters Arrive at Pune Polling Places by Wheelchairs and Sheer Willpower

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Many more overcame personal discomfort to make sure they voted, just as they had in numerous elections prior to 2024.

15 May 2024

By Khushi Maheshwari 

In order to cast his ballot, 80-year-old Harsh Jakatdar stood up from his wheelchair and limped to the polling place in the DAV School in Aundh, using a wall as support. He emerged beaming.

When questioned why he did not choose to cast his ballot from home, he initially pointed mockingly at Tanisha, a 17-year-old volunteer, implying he intended to bother her, but he later said that it did not feel right. He told his neighbours to include him since he knew he could put in that much work.

Like Jakatdar, a great number of people overcame personal difficulty to make sure they voted as they had in other elections prior to 2024.

At Bal Shikshan Mandir in Pune, 94-year-old Shripad Shankar Kanhere used his right to vote. He declared that he will exercise his right of franchise till he can. Sadhana Bhagwat, his daughter, helped him out and promised to return home to help her wheelchair-using mother, Jyotsna Kanhere, 86, do the same. 

Mahendra Singh Rawat, 74, was unable to walk because of losing his legs to gangrene. His son drove him to the polling place, where he was placed in a wheelchair and taken to the polling place. He had to wheel twice as far, and they were led to the wrong building, but he did not complain. The man, who has never missed an election in his life, declared that the arrangement was good. 

Suhas Diwase, the Pune Collector, gave Nachiket Sinha, a resident of Florida Estate in Keshav Nagar, Mundhwa, particular assistance when it was time to cast his ballot. Because of his physical impairment and cerebral palsy, Nachiket finds it challenging to walk long distances. In order to move his polling booth closer to home, his father Niraj Kumar Sinha had been in touch with Pune Collector Suhas Diwase and the Chief Election Officer for Maharashtra.

Diwase acknowledged the request but could not fulfil it in time, so he gave Nachiket a special car and an attendant to help him go to the polls, which were approximately a kilometre away from his home.

However, some others did not have a very good experience. Following his vote, Ramdas Gaikwad, a hypertension patient and voter in Chakan, was unable to move. He was wheeled out in a wheelchair and given preferential voting rights.

Despite being paralyzed, 62-year-old Shaktipada Ghosh and his wife showed up to the Kasturba Housing Society polling place in Wadgaon Sheri. But Sharmila Ghosh, his wife, complained about the poor administration and about having to wait for two hours because of broken equipment.