Maharashtra Assembly Polls: These people will be voting today. What about you?

Updated: Oct 21, 2019, 07:38 IST | Diwakar Sharma | Mumbai

From 100-year-olds to a teenager who is postponing his maiden New Zealand trip, here are some stories of Mumbaikars to inspire you

Nikunj Tisani postponed NZ holiday. Pics/Rajesh Gupta, Hanif Patel
Nikunj Tisani postponed NZ holiday. Pics/Rajesh Gupta, Hanif Patel

The right to vote empowers a democracy and it is why employees get leave to exercise this right. But, while some of us tend to be 'lethargic' about it, there are those who will not let anything come between them and this right. mid-day spoke to a few such voters — centenarians, teenagers, the bedridden, who are thrilled about going out and voting.

In a bid to achieve record voter turnout, electoral staff has been asking citizens to pledge to exercise their franchise and have made various arrangements for voters who are to choose the next government in Maharashtra on Monday. There are many voters who often complain and give excuses such as improper arrangements at polling booths for the elderly and specially-abled citizens and others. But Khiladi Ram Sharma is not one of them.

KR Puri ill and bedridden
KR Puri ill and bedridden

Sharma, a Bhandup resident, turned 100 in August. He has not missed a single opportunity to vote in his life. "I am a responsible citizen of this democratic country. It is our national festival and we must not miss using our democratic right," said Sharma.

"I have never missed voting in my entire life. Irrespective of my old age, I will go out to vote. Those who give excuses not to vote are lifeless. If we have to live in a democratic country, we must vote despite all odds," added Sharma who is medically fit and was seen reading newspaper sans spectacles.

Khiladi Ram Sharma just turned 100
Khiladi Ram Sharma just turned 100

A 19-year-old Vasai resident, Nikunj Tisani, rescheduled an air ticket to New Zealand just so that he could cast his vote. "I had booked my ticket to New Zealand when the election dates were not announced. I was supposed to fly on October 20 but postponed my travel plans by a day. I will leave for New Zealand after voting on October 21," said Tisani, who is going to train to become a pilot.

"I will be exercising my franchise for the second time on Monday. My debut as a voter was during Lok Sabha polls. I am very excited to use my democratic right. I request my fellow citizens to vote too as every vote does matter," added Tisani.

Sundrabai Shinde, 106, will travel from Nalasopara to Khar
Sundrabai Shinde, 106, will travel from Nalasopara to Khar

A 94-year-old, KR Puri, has been bed-ridden for the past three months but is willing to venture outside in a wheelchair with his assistant to vote at his polling booth, BD Somani School at Cuffe Parade.

"I am unwell due to old age and reeling under the stress of multiple diseases but I am not lethargic like others. My assistant will take me to BD Somani School where I will vote. I don't know if any arrangement like a ramp for wheelchairs has been made by the electoral staff. Yet I have vowed to use my democratic right," said Puri, who added, "You have no right to crib and accuse the government of anything if you have not voted to choose them."

Khushal Nandekar and his friends cancelled their Mahabaleshwar trip on October 20 and 21
Khushal Nandekar and his friends cancelled their Mahabaleshwar trip on October 20 and 21

Surpassing all these is 106-year-old Sundrabai Shinde, who lives in Nalasopara with her grandchildren. However, she casts her vote in Khar. Shinde will be commuting in an auto-rickshaw from Nalasopara to Khar East with her grandson Santosh to reach her polling booth.

On the other hand, there's a group of friends who cancelled a trip to Mahabaleshwar so they could vote on Monday. Khushal Nandekar and his friends had postponed their weekend trip to October 20 and 21.

But when they realised one of the days is for polling, they cancelled the trip. "Knowing the importance of voting and the impact a proper government can have on of us, we could not have missed voting. Voting gives you a sense of inclusion. It is what keeps the democracy functioning," Nandekar, a resident of Cuffe Parade, said.

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