BMC Election: First-time voter reveals his ordeal

Feb 22, 2017, 08:40 IST | Suyash Karangutkar

19-yr-old was forced to run around polling booths looking for his name in the list. After waiting for over half an hour, he was turned away to another location; he finally managed to caste his vote by 6 pm

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Proud first-time voter Suyash Karangutkar
Proud first-time voter Suyash Karangutkar

After turning 18 last year, one of the things I was excited about, was voting. While growing up I used to accompany my parents to polling booths. As the election was to be held this year, I applied for my voter's identity card and received it well in time. Since then I was zealous about casting my first vote.

With no leave at my media internship, I woke up early just to vote. I checked my polling station and booth at one of the suggested websites and got it confirmed later from two polling agents in the locality.

But little did I know, that I would be left dejected, and made to run from one place to another. After waiting in the queue for nearly 30 minutes, I was informed that my name was not in the list at the booth. I was asked to check with the polling agents as well as with the other booths at the centre.

While none of the booths at the centre seemed to have me on their list, the polling agents claimed the centre was correct. I soon discovered I wasn't alone. My mother and many others at the polling centre were being sent back because their names weren't there in the list.

We tried approaching the agents again, and a few police officers deployed at the centre for help, but we received none. Meanwhile, some people said that the updated voters' list had not been received by the polling agents and the booths. After struggling to figure things out for more than an hour, I left for work, dejected and frustrated.

Later in the afternoon, when my father stepped out to vote, he found from another agent that our names were at a nearby BMC school. Since there was still some time remaining to vote, I left work to cast my vote. As expected, there were huge queues, and I had to stand in one of them for an hour and a half.

However, officials were helpful. They helped several anxious voters who approached them. By 6 pm, I could finally get my finger inked for the very first time! Though it feels good to have cast my valuable vote, I wish my first voting experience had been a smooth process!

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