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Rajasthan polls: All-woman polling booths evoke mixed response

Written by PaperDabba

Indian women wait in a queue to cast their votes in village Padampura, near Ajmer, India, Friday, Dec. 7, 2018. Polling for legislative assembly of Telangana and Rajasthan are underway, results of which will be declared on Dec. 11, 2018. (AP Photo/ Deepak Sharma)

The Election Commission’s move to set up all-woman booths for the assembly polls in Rajasthan received a mixed response with the voters giving it a thumbs up but the polling staff expressing some reservations. In a first-of-its-kind experiment in the state, the polling staff and security personnel at 259 out of the state’s total 51,687 polling booths are all women.

Fifty of these booths have been set up in Jaipur alone. Both men and women can caste votes at these booths.
Women voters lauded the initiative.

“The all-woman polling centres is a good initiative towards representation of women in the electoral system,” a voter, Preeti Mathur, said.

“It was good to see women managing the electoral work. It was a different experience this election,” another voter, Urmila Jain, said. The women officials, however, complained that their security and logistics issues have been ignored.

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“It is indeed a good initiative. We are getting a chance to learn about the electoral system, but it would have been better if there was male support staff to carry and deposit the voting machines,” Chandrika Warde, presiding officer of a polling centre set up at Government Girls School in Gandhi Nagar area here, said.

Presiding officer of another polling booth, Hemlata Saini, too said support staff should have been provided to deposit the voting machines. Several others expressed similar sentiments.

The women officials said commuting late at night after depositing the voting machines can be risky.
Additional Chief Election Officer Dr Joga Ram said no complaints had been received from women polling officials.
Action will be taken to address their grievances if a complaint is filed, he said.

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