"We don't want to be carried to the polling booth this time." This is what the city's differently abled told Election Commissioner Jageshwar Saharia yesterday, during a meeting at the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, Churchgate.
Just a single ramp can ensure that they get their right to vote with dignity, like any other citizen. Arvind Prabhu (49), a resident of Vile Parle (E), recalled his last experience: "There was no ramp. After making me wait for almost 20 minutes, the guard suggested that I be carried inside to the voting booth."
For many, this can feel like a humiliating experience. Mahim-resident Nilesh Singit (52) said, "Last time, five people carried me to the the voting booth on the first floor. I was so embarrassed that I returned without casting my vote."
They demanded that BEST Undertaking run a special bus service for the physically challenged and senior citizens on voting day. However, Saharia said, "This is a difficult task for us because BEST cannot reach each and every place on voting day." He added, however, this year polling stations would have ramps.