The left side of his body has been paralysed since 1992, but this has never come in the way of 76-year-old Abdul Gaffar Shaikh casting his ballot. A resident of Andheri (East), he has always exercised his franchise since he was 18 – and did so again on Tuesday in the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections.
Abdul, who walked to his polling centre with his daughter’s help, strongly believes that it is the basic right of every citizen to vote.
While the staircase at his polling booth caused him some discomfort, it did not deter the retired accounts officer from voting, and he managed to get the indelible ink on his finger.
His daughter, who is an insurance professional, said her father faced difficulties while walking on the roads as many of them did not have dedicated footpaths
“It upsets me to see my father struggling for something as basic as a morning or evening walk. The city has to become more senior citizen- and disabled-friendly. My parents believe that change is possible only by exercising this power, so my younger sister and I have been regular voters,” she said, according to the Hindu.
Similarly, newly married Manisha from Lucknow was determined to leave for her husband’s house only after she cast her ballot. Manisha, who got married on February 18, exercised her franchise on February 19, the third phase of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. She left for her husband’s house on February 21.
Manisha was determined to cast her vote after some election commission officials visited her house to talk about the importance of voting. According to ANI, the bride conveyed her wish to her in-laws, who agreed to the same.
While Abdul overcame hurdles to successfully cast his vote, and Manisha decided to delay her wedding rituals for the same, Shivaji Shankarrao More met with disappointment when he reached his polling station in Dahisar (East) in Mumbai.
After driving a distance of 300 km from his village in Satara to the Universal High polling station in Dahisar (East), 62-year-old Shivaji was told was that his vote had already been cast!
The retired Air India official was surprised, but was not willing to give up. Despite election officials trying to turn him away, he was determined to cast his vote and finally voted manually using a ballot paper in the BMC elections.
“I entered the booth between 9.30 a.m. and 9.45 a.m. There were five to six officials to check voters’ names and verify their credentials. The person who voted instead of me may have a similar name, but his photo must be different,” Shivaji said, according to The Hindu.
With determined voters like these, it’s now wonder that Mumbai recorded the highest voter turnout in 25 years in its civic elections. And these are only some of the many stories about individuals who overcome hurdles to participate in the democratic process.