mid-day editorial: Polls must not take a toll on citizens

Even as you read this, some of you must already be back after having cast your votes for the upcoming civic elections. Others might be preparing to head to the polling booths.

It has been an intense fight for supremacy among parties, in last few weeks. Citizens have endured political posturing with good-natured skepticism and chuckled at the barbs exchanges between parties, especially between Shiv Sena and BJP, as their war reached a crescendo a couple of days ago.

Citizens have clucked in disgust at raucous motorbike squads, campaigning for parties. Yet, with the resilience this city is respected for, Mumbaikars have analysed the propositions of various parties to choose better governance.

Today, voters expecting the much-pledged "free and fair elections" promise will seek to cast their votes in peace. However, over the years, we have seen citizens returning disappointed by virtue of the numerous hurdles to that pledge.

While goof-ups and gaffes flood the entire voting process, the most common, perhaps, is that of missing names. Several people return from polling booths frustrated because their names are mysteriously missing from the voters' list.

Election officials, armed with little to no time, often send these voters to this room and that, or to different offices to get them registered, but the efforts often go in vain. Social media gets flooded with such voters bonding over government's lack of coordination. Let's hope at least the specially abled are not turned away due to such gaffes.
Three years ago, many were inked on the right fingers instead of the mandatory left.

There have been reports of duplication of names. While there's no time to correct such mistakes now, the government should at least try to live up to its pledge of free and fair polls. It's certainly not a tall order.

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