Re: [mpisgmedia] polling day

 Kalkaji turned out to be in Outer Delhi.

On Mon, 10 May 2004 Gita Dewan Verma wrote :
>The refuse-to-vote option was exercised / attempted in
>at least twenty booths today (I have yet to hear form
>some others who were speaking of it on the weekend).
>* At only one of these booths (Kalkaji, South Delhi)
>polling officers knew the procedure and at only one
>other (in Vasant Kunj, Outer Delhi) that the provision
>existed. All others ? including in Chirag Enclave
>(South Delhi) (from where two electors had made
>representations seeking public clarification on Friday
>and had received a call from CEC on Saturday) electors
>had to draw attention to the procedure (which, as
>confirmed to one of those who called EC in the course
>of the day, is not covered in instructions to polling
>* There were relatively problem-free experiences in
>one booth in Vasant Kunj (where three electors arrived
>together and aggressively asked the polling officers
>to refer to p.61 of the handbook) and Giri Nagar
>('slum' in south Delhi) and Lakshmi Nagar
>(unauthorised colony in East Delhi).
>* In Jasola (Outer Delhi), Swasthya Vihar (East Delhi)
>and two places in Vasant Kunj, polling officers,
>presumably influenced by newspaper reports, spoke
>about and searched for Form-17A, not realising it was
>the register of voters. (We learned that in Karol Bagh
>an elector, unaware of the refuse-to-vote procedure
>and not persuaded about it after the polling staff
>found it out, absolutely insisted on filling
>* Even after being shown Chapter XX in his handbook,
>the Presiding Officer in Patel Nagar (West Delhi)
>refused to sign the refuse-to-vote entry in the
>remarks column despite the elector's insistence. In
>Jasola also the Presiding Officer did not sign. (Calls
>were made to EC in both cases)
>* In Swasthya Vihar and one place in Vasant Kunj some
>fuss was made about numbering (which the handbook
>clearly says is unaffected by the refuse-to-vote
>procedure) and at one place the elector refusing to
>vote was refused ink mark and had to make an issue of
>* In all cases the option could not be exercised
>unobtrusively and in nearly all cases there were
>irritating remarks about the decision to refuse to
>vote and then to refuse to simply stay home. In
>Masudpur (urban village in Outer Delhi) an elector who
>said he would not allow polling if not allowed to
>exercise his right to refuse-to-vote was told a
>complaint would be lodged against him for booth
>* In one place in Vasant Kunj and one place in Yamuna
>Pushta (New Delhi) electors inclined to refuse-to-vote
>but not inclined to make a scene did not press.
>* In Rangpuri Pahari ('slum' in Outer Delhi), from
>where a representation specifically seeking
>unobtrusive use of the option was made on Friday (with
>reference to previous experience of fielding a proxy
>candidate to vote for an issue and winning at these
>booths), there was intimidation. After a call made to
>EC at about 10 am, by when two dozen electors had
>exercised the refuse-to-vote option, returned the
>advice that they stay home, others inclined to use it
>made choice between leaving their vote open to misuse
>or being compelled to vote dart-board style.
>I was in Rajghat Pushta between 9:00 and 12:00.
>Polling stations looked empty compared with the
>teeming 'voluntary resettlement camps'. I met enough
>of those I had got to know while they were being
>resettled to be able to ascertain that EC?s weekend
>public notices had gone largely unnoticed and were, in
>any case, considered redundant since they only provide
>information about bus routes that all already knew and
>also that many were not expected since they had
>decided not to vote. Those who had come from other
>places were amongst the ones still trying for
>resettlement plots and had been approached by
>politically active ones (key in the 'bonded-voter'
>theory) on their trips to MCD offices, etc, with
>assurances of expediting their cases. (Elsewhere in
>Pushta there have been stunning pre-poll negotiations
>last week).
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