On Saturday, Karnataka registered its highest ever voter turnout in the recent Assembly elections according to Chief Electoral Officer Sanjeev Kumar.
At 72.13%, it broke the previous record set in 1978 of 71.90%. Hosakote, located in the outskirts of state capital Bengaluru, recorded the highest turnout with 89.97%, a shade below the 90.97% it recorded in 2013, as per the latest reports.
Across various constituencies, senior citizens, transgenders, the physically disabled, the infirm and first-time voters, among others, came out to cast their vote, en masse.
With the right to vote guaranteed by the Constitution under Article 326 for every citizen above 18 years of age, the process of exercising one’s franchise is both a right and responsibility.
Many centenarians take this duty seriously and have never missed an opportunity to vote. They maintain a unique faith in the system and truly believe that things can change when citizens come out and vote.
One such voter is 111-year-old Sri Shivakumara Swami (the oldest voter in the state according certain reports), a seer of the famous Siddaganga mutt at Tumakuru. Born in 1907, the religious leader has reportedly never missed an election and came out to cast his vote as soon as the polling booths opened at 7:00 a.m. on May 12.
The young are not far behind. For some of them, the election day coincided with the day of their wedding, and they were seen at polling booths before the function—a sign of how seriously they take the process of voting.
“My wedding can wait. We have to elect the right government. This is the only way our state and country will progress,” said one voter in Bengaluru.
However, one of the most heartening scenes from the poll process was the sight of security personnel from the Sashastra Seema Bal (Armed Border Force) assisting the physically disabled and senior citizens in the voting process. In some cases, SSB jawans and officials even carried them into the polling booth so that they could exercise their franchise.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)