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India General Elections 2024: First-timers and old hands alike share thrill of inked finger

Updated on: 21 May,2024 07:10 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Sameer Surve |

Both groups highlight need for jobs, education, and civic duty in Thane and Kalyan constituencies

India General Elections 2024: First-timers and old hands alike share thrill of inked finger

Zulekha Popatiya cast her vote in Mumbra; Saifudin Jhonpurwala cast his vote in Mumbra; Locals wait to cast their vote at St John’s Convent High School in Mumbra on Monday. Pics/Satej Shinde

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India General Elections 2024: First-timers and old hands alike share thrill of inked finger

In the latest phase of the Lok Sabha elections, voters from various constituencies shared their experiences and concerns. First-time voter Samiksha Patki from Dombivli emphasised the need for jobs and affordable education, while 76-year-old Saufudun Jouanpurwala from Mumbra pledged to continue voting as long as he lives. Despite a busy morning, voter turnout in Thane and Kalyan dropped in the afternoon, and many voters reported issues with crowd management at polling stations in Mumbra.

Chandrakala Kandalgoankar, a 78-year-old woman, came to vote in Jondhale Polytechnic of Dombivli West with a walker, saying, “I never miss my voting. It's my duty to cast my vote,” she added further, “Everybody should vote.” Zulekha Popatiya, a 75-year-old woman, came to cast her vote at TMC Marathi Medium School of the Mumbra East in the afternoon. When mid-day asked her if she felt the sun in the afternoon, she replied, “Yes, it's a hot sunny day. But we need to vote. I asked my family and neighbours to vote too,” she added.

Samiksha Patki, a voter from Dombivli West, said, “I voted to choose my government. We need jobs and cheaper education, as education becomes costlier.” Sakshi Jadhav, another first-time voter from Ambernath West, cast her vote in Mahatma Gandhi High School of Ambarnath West. “It is exciting as now I can choose my government. Also, we need the government to focus on employment creation for women and girls.”

Khusbu Jethwa, a first-time voter from Thane, said that voting for the first time is a different kind of feeling. “I'm excited to choose my government.”

First vote then picnic

Sunil Pawar, a 56-year-old voter of Thane city, met mid-day at Kalyan Railway Junction. He was waiting for the Ernakulam Express as he was going on a picnic with his family. “We planned this tour so I could cast my vote first and then go on a picnic. I'm not doing anything extraordinary; it's my duty. I never miss voting.” Jalindar Phadtare was waiting for his train to Pune at Kalyan Junction. “‘I’m going to my native place. But this week, I'm going after casting my vote. Voting is like a habit. I don't feel that I did anything extraordinary.”

Education, healthcare on new voters’ minds

Muhammad Manna Shaikh, Santacruz 

Muhammad Manna Shaikh, Santacruz 
The second-year computer science student at Rizvi College is a resident of Santacruz BEST Quarters. ‘I am a first-time voter and was eager to be among the first to cast my vote, so I reached the polling booth early in the morning. It felt wonderful to know that, for the first time, I was contributing to the progress of the country and I was the first voter at the Sane Guruji School polling centre.’

Dwarkadhish Patil, Gorai, Borivli West

Dwarkadhish Patil, Gorai, Borivli West
He is an 18-year-old BSc IT student. ‘Initially, I did not want to vote. The negativity I saw on social media and news channels was disheartening. However, my father counselled me, explaining the importance of voting and how much difference a single vote can make. Understanding this, I went to the centre and cast my vote. I believe leaders and governments should fulfil promises. My father, who is the secretary of our society, made a promise to the residents to bring a water line into the society. I saw him fulfil this.’

Danish Chaudhary, Kandivli West

Danish Chaudhary, Kandivli West
The 18-year-old BA second-year psychology student and Kandivli West resident cast his vote first time at Hilda Aunty Primary School, Lalji Pada. ‘My vote was for the good future of the country, focusing on the best education and affordable healthcare facilities for all citizens. For the first time, I understood the importance of voting and was excited to cast my first vote.’  

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