All-women booths a ‘new ex­pe­ri­ence’

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Rajasthan - HT Cor­re­spon­dent [email protected]

JAIPUR: I have only seen men man­ag­ing the booths. The move is cer­tainly en­cour­ag­ing for women. ZAKIRA KHAN, voter in Jaipur

More than 250 polling booths across Ra­jasthan on Fri­day wore a dif­fer­ent look than their coun­ter­parts else­where in the state: bar­ring the male vot­ers, ev­ery one present there — from elec­tion of­fi­cials to se­cu­rity per­son­nel — were all women, in what was the first in­stance of its kind in the state, and, as of­fi­cials put it, a step to­wards em­pow­er­ing the women.

In case the booths missed the point of send­ing the mes­sage across, elec­tion of­fi­cials had en­sured these 259 cen­tres stood out from a dis­tance - and so ei­ther painted them in pink or put pink bal­loons all over the place.

In Jaipur dis­trict, 50 polling booths were man­aged by women. There were, how­ever, some cen­tres where male polling agents from var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties were present.

Both male and fe­male vot­ers who turned up at these booths called it “a good step” to in­clude women in the elec­toral process. Zakira Khan, a voter out­side a polling booth at Tagore Pub­lic School in Shas­tri Na­gar, Jaipur, said, “I have al­ways seen men man­ag­ing the polling booths. This is for the first time that women are man­ag­ing the en­tire booth. The move is cer­tainly en­cour­ag­ing for the women,” Khan said.

While the polling booth at the Jaipur School in Sec­tor 6, Vid­hyad­har Na­gar, had its walls painted pink es­pe­cially for the polling day, the booth at Shri Khan­del­wal Vaishya P G Col­lege in Shas­tri Na­gar was high­lighted by la­belling it as “be­ing man­aged by women”.

The move was a new ex­pe­ri­ence for sev­eral polling of­fi­cials, too. Ni­tika Rathore, an of­fi­cial posted at the booth at Tagore Pub­lic School, said that the polling has been go­ing on smoothly since the women of­fi­cials were trained re­gard­ing the man­age­ment. “We are keep­ing the count of the num­ber of votes polled and man­ag­ing the en­tire booth. It is a new ex­pe­ri­ence for me,” Rathore said.

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