By Nikhil M. Babu and Ashish Mishra
New Delhi, Aug 23 (IANS) On Wednesday, 88-year-old Randhir Singh from Pooth Khurd of Bawana left his house around 9 a.m to cast his vote with a companion — his four feet long brown walking stick with a metal base.
While voter turnout in the Bawana bypoll in the national capital was lower by about 17 per cent than the last state assembly election, many like Singh made it to the polling booths without fail.
The octogenarian had to walk around 45 minutes to reach the polling station about three kilometre from his house. He told IANS: “I never miss my chance to vote.”
The official voter turnout was only 5.8 per cent when Singh cast his vote.
“I cast my vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” he said, showing the indelible ink mark on his index finger.
As he started the walk back home, he added that he liked Modi and that made him go for the “Lotus” (BJP’s election symbol).
About three kilometres from Khurd, Sathya Devi, 95, sat on a footpath outside MC Primary Girls School in Old Bawana – clutching her walking frame.
At around 10.30 a.m, she had come to vote with her 65-year-old son Balram.
Wearing thick-framed spectacles with a thicker lens, Devi smiled and blessed when questions were asked to her, as she was almost deaf.
“She can’t hear anything, ask me if you have any questions,” Balram said.
The nonagenarian was taken to the poll booth in a van and the same van was waiting outside to take her back.
“I’m ferrying people for Congress today and have been working since 6.30 a.m,” van driver Manoj Kumar told IANS.
People trickled in to cast their votes at the school and they didn’t have much complaints, but the condition was different in JJ Colony in Bawana, about five kilometre away.
Sitting on a crudely made wooden bedstead by the main road, Abdul Majeed, 85, had already cast his vote before 11 a.m.
The official voter turnout was only 17.25 per cent by then.
“I’ve voted for Congress as it was they who got us independence,” the white skull cap wearing Majeed said.
But sitting next to him, Rahim, 65, had a completely different opinion: “We’ll vote for anyone who’ll work for the people, irrespective of the political party.”
Holding his soiled white kurta with both hands about his knees, Rahim said: “The roads get flooded here when it rains and when he visited here, Kejriwal promised to fix it within a month if elected.”
Mixing tobacco in his left palm, Rahim asked: “What did the Congress do in the 15 years it ruled Delhi?”
As a debate started taking shape around “which political party had done more for the people” among a group that gathered near Majeed’s bedstead, an elderly woman who was passing by said out loud: “This time broom (AAP’s election symbol) will come and ‘Shamshan Ghat’ will be built.”
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