Irfan Tramboo

Polling booths witnessed absence of voters, facilities for polling staff

Polling booths witnessed absence of voters, facilities for polling staff
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Srinagar: Monday, the day for the first phase of Urban Local Bodies’ polls had dawned. It was also the day when most of the polling staff stationed in Srinagar areas longed for the day to end as soon as possible, with all eyes desperate to see the clock hitting 4 o’clock mark.

Much to their desperation, the day only kept stretching longer, as if the Sun had forgotten to move and day was not going to end, adding to the anxiety of the staff left by the authorities to ‘fend for themselves’.

The boredom had an add-on effect as people did not come out to cast their votes in the areas like Bagh-e-Mehtab and Shankerpora in Srinagar. At Bagh-e-Mehtab only a few votes were polled till afternoon on Monday with only two candidates in the fray, both reportedly did not belong to the particular ward where form they were contesting.

The locals said that among two candidates, one belongs to BJP and the other, a female candidate has preferred to contest the elections independently.

While the boredom engulfed the staff, the authorities also added to their miseries by not providing proper accommodation, meals and required furniture to them.

“We have managed to get through the day on our own. We faced lot of difficulties in getting our basic requirements for the day,” said a poll staffer, wishing not to be named.

While most of the polling booths were seen deserted in Srinagar, where the Urban Local Bodies Elections were held, the polling staff at the polling stations rued authorities for the lack of facilities for them, some said that even chairs were not provided to them.

The polling stations in Bagh-e-Mehtab and Shankerpora in Srinagar were seen deserted with forces guarding the entrances. At Bagh-e-Mehtab only 8 votes were polled till 11 eleven in the morning.

The polling staff at these stations said that in the name of facilities nothing was done and they were left to fend for themselves.

“We were brought in and were made to stay at a BSF camp for the night,” said a member of polling staff while he yawned.

Puncturing the claims of the authorities that all the arrangements for the conduct of polls were put in place, the polling staff said that all basic requirements at the booths were missing.

“If you go inside, you will see there is nothing in the name of furniture, apart from this, we were not provided even food and had to fend for ourselves, which is pathetic,” he said, while he rubbed his sleep-deprived eyes.

While the polling staff waited for people to come and cast their votes, most of the members of the staff were eager to return back to their homes as soon as possible.

In the meantime, feeling bored and chill in his bones, another member of the polling staff ventured out of the station to feel the warmth of the gentle autumn sun.

“It has been a terrible experience so far, I am eagerly waiting for the clock to hit 4 so that we can head back home safely,” he said and closed his eyes for a nap in the meantime.

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