All-women booths a ‘new experience’
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.