With Power & Rights Young & Old in City Vote to Elect Good Leaders to Form a Vibrant Govt

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With Power & Rights Young & Old in City Vote to Elect Good Leaders to Form a Vibrant Govt


Mangaluru: It is Election Day! It is a day of the importance of asserting their democratic rights and of the power of their vote. Voting is not a duty but a citizen’s privilege for which people across geographies and generations have fought and made sacrifices. It is a right that is not to be taken for granted, and it can conceivably be lost through disuse. The decisions made by the officials we elect can have a profound impact on our daily lives; from the policies that affect our livelihood, healthcare, and education, to the laws that govern our communities and protect our fundamental rights. Ultimately, it is up to the people to ensure that they have a say in how these decisions are made; and that is possible only when they choose their representatives and the decision-makers carefully.

85-year-old Alice Fernandes voted at St Joseph’s Higher Primary School Kulshekar

Today, it was their turn. They have been given the incredible opportunity to have a say in the direction the state of Karnataka will take. And today they have shown the world that they value our democracy and our ability to choose our leaders! Whether it is “PHIR Ek Baar Double Engine Modi Sarkar in Karnataka ” or “Ab Hoga Nayay Congress Rahul Gandhi/DKS/Siddaramaiah Sarkar in Karnataka”- voters today are all geared up to vote at the various polling booths in Dakshina Kannada/Mangaluru. The polling station at St Agnes College/High School, Bendore saw a huge turnout in the morning, including religious Apostolic Carmel nuns and Bethany nuns.

Regarding the arrangements made at the polling booth at the Government school, near Mallikatta, a few voters were not happy-like Ms Anuradha, an IT employee who had come to this polling station before going to work, who spoke to Team Mangalorean said, “Not that I am against the seniors who have come here to vote, but I am angry about the arrangements made for them. They should have had a separate polling booth for the seniors because while we are standing in the queue, every time seniors come, they allow them to go in first to vote- thereby making us still standing in the queue. I have been in the queue for a long time, and I have to be at work at 8.30 am”. Another voter, Ramesh said, ” This is ridiculous since it takes such a long time once a few voters enter the hall and come back late, thereby making us wait in this treacherous weather. Poor arrangements in this regard”.

MLC Manjunath Bhandary and his wife Mrs Prasanna Bhandary cast their vote at Govt School, Mallikatta

Well said by these citizens, only if better arrangements had been made it would have sped up the time, rather than voters staying in the queue for a long time. Hope it will be better next time. Many were complaining why even a polling day during the middle of the week. Simple- in a bid to check apathy among voters, the EC had come up with an out-of-the-box idea by holding the poll in the middle of the week to prevent people planning an outing by clubbing the poll-day holiday with the weekend break.“The date of the poll has been kept on a Wednesday. Had it been on a Monday, it would have come with a holiday of Saturday and Sunday. And had it been on a Tuesday, take a day off and we can go out … Wednesday is a little difficult,” an EC official said.

Mangaluru North Constituency Candidate Inayath Ali voted at St Agnes College, Mangaluru

First-time voters and the elderly stole the show as they were seen participating in the voting process enthusiastically. And they were not small in numbers. According to Election Commission (EC) officials, as many as 11.71 lahks were eligible to exercise their franchise for the first time in Karnataka. Of the total eligible voters, 16,914 are centenarians and 12.16 lakh are above the age of 80

The excitement among the first-time voters was palpable. Excited and thrilled to make their debut in the process of government formation, the first time voters came to the polling booths to exercise their right to vote. Driven to bring a change in the decades-old system, they not only voted but also shared the joy of posting pictures of their inked fingers on social networking sites and discussed the importance of voting with others to motivate their fellows, and also posed for a few pics taken by Yours Truly. Team Mangalorean interacted with a few first-time voters-

Dr Shreya Bhat (23) an intern at AJ Hospital, Mangaluru accompanied by her mom, Dr Sneha Bhat said, “I am very happy to vote. This is my right. I was reluctant to vote in the earlier elections, but this time I made a point not to miss this opportunity. The feeling of being part of this democratic process is quite liberating. It makes you feel that your opinion and voice matter. I am looking for a change because change matters. I voted for a leader who would cater to the needs of the people, and not not just make promises. I feel proud that I voted”.

Ms Shreya Bhat (23) with her mom Dr Sneha Bhat

Yet another First time voter, Ms Niharika Shetty (20) doing her Psychology/Criminology at Roshni Nilaya School of Social Work, Mangaluru, accompanied by her dad, Dr Mahabala Shetty (HoD of Forensic department at Kshema Hospital) and mom, Dr Premalatha Shetty (Professor and Head in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at MCODS/KMC Mangalore) said, ” Wow, I am thrilled to vote for the first time. I didn’t want to miss this first-time opportunity, and I was convinced and motivated by my parents to cast my valuable vote. And I did, because I don’t know where I will be in five years, but right now I have the power to help the better government win and do something for my state”.

Ms Niharika Shetty (20) with her dad, Dr Mahabala Shetty and mom, Dr Premalatha Shetty voted at Govt School, Mallikatta

This was the first state-wide assembly election where the Vote-From-Home option was given for those elderly people who completed 80 years and were unable to reach the polling station, according to an election officer. But many elderly voters who wanted to cast their votes at the polling booth reached the polling booths on wheel-chairs or with the help of their kith and kin, like 86-year-old Mrs Benedicta Serrao, who was accompanied by her son, Fortunate Serrao and granddaughter Sharon.

86-year-old Benedicta Serrao seen with son Fortunate Serrao and granddaughter Sharon voted at Govt School, Mallikatta

Speaking to Team Mangalorean she said, ” I am happy to vote. Everyone should vote and may good happen to everyone. I have been voting for the past decades. I never missed a single election without voting. Voting is a right and privilege, that not many people get-so we should make the best use of it. I have made the right choice in casting my vote for the right person who rightly deserves it so that he can represent me when he is elected. I urge all those who have voting rights to head on to the polling booths-your vote can bring a change and make a difference. Youth should come forward and vote-they are the nation builders. I am glad that I voted this year, but I am not sure whether I will be alive to vote in the next elections”.

Ms Trisha Lara D’souza, who along with her dad, Terrence D’souza and mom, Mrs Lolita (A R D’souza & Son family) who cast their vote at St Agnes College said, ” My parents and I recently moved to a new home. As our address has not been updated on all our documents, we had to seek the help of citizens at the election booths. With the efficiency that it operated at ten folds during election time, we received our voting slips without a hassle. As proud and eager citizens we reached the polling station in the early hours of the day. The appointed members at the booths including the CISF and other security personnel guided us in the right direction. It was heartwarming to witness the special care and attention given to senior citizens, pregnant women, and people with disabilities and illnesses. They were also allowed to enter the booth with their caretaker or loved one to facilitate voting without difficulty.

Ms Trisha Lara D’souza with dad, Terence and mom, Lolita voted at St Agnes College, Mangaluru

” We beat the heat as we patiently waited in line and cast our votes for the deserving candidate for our constituency in the Karnataka Assembly Elections. The right to vote is a choice as well as a privilege. As part of the Indian democracy, we are bestowed with the privilege of electing the person who will be in the position of power. In turn, we must choose to exercise this right with the utmost sincerity and honour. Here’s to a bright morning hoping for a brighter tomorrow! added Trisha.

Few staff of Globe Travels cast their votes early in the morning

Ring..ring…ring? Talk about the rule set by the Election Commission banning mobile phones while coming to vote. Seems like it was just a rule and not strictly enforced or followed because there were quite a few voters in the queue whose phones were ringing now and then- and none of the polling booth officials nor the cops on duty did anything about it. And the best part was that even the officials were using their mobiles. Seems like a “We don’t practice what we preach” kind of deal.

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