Mangaluru, May 13, 2018: According to 2011 census, there are an estimated 53.84 lakh senior citizens; at the run-up to the 2018 polls only 3.5 lakh senior citizens voters (including those with physical disability) had approached the Election Commission asking for special needs at the polls.
Meanwhile, chest up and chin high, Michael D’Souza simply signals this reporter to follow-him, as he walks past the security personnel, by-standing voters and greeting polling official. "Everyone knows me, I have come here many times," he makes a subtle boastful claim, while cracking into a smile. While others wait for their turn, Michael spends less than five-minutes at the polling booth, casts his vote.
There were centenarians too - Ivy Mathias, born December 9, 1915 voted at St.Mary’s School booth Falnir early morning, Gladys D’Souza, born March 30, 1918, cast her vote in a booth near State Bank and so did many in their 90s. .
I Udupi, aged voters showed themselves no less their votes were cast for them.
Girija Bhandari (96) of Melperdur is unable to see or hear properly. “She was eager than all of us and she has never lost any opportunity to vote,” said her daughter.
Girija Shedthi (90) came to vote at the polling station at Perdur Higher Primary School. The nonagenarian from Holinge in Perdur said that she never missed any chance at voting and selecting her representative. “If not we, who else has to select our representative”, she questioned. She feels it is a very special duty being the citizen of the country.
Gulabhi Shedthi from Seethanadhi, who had to be lifted by the family members, did not want to miss her chance even at the age of 88 years. Agriculturist from Kandibailu, Babanna, aged 85 years, said he wanted to vote although he is able to walk only with the help of others.
The 63-year-old Rajeevi from Kelarisinamane in Someshwara with more than half her body paralysed came to vote on a wheelchair. She said that she had the facility of the wheelchair offered by the polling officer and she could vote. It needs to be seriously considered whether some regulations are needed in this regard, If aged voters are on unsound mind, senile and unaware of the reality and whose franchise is exercised by other guardians is it moral and legal to have such individuals vote - with all due respect? It is a sacred matter and a fair amount of judgement solely on the part of individual is needed.
Three held for proxy voting
Polling officials identified three persons who tried for proxy voting in Dakshina Kannada district on May 12, Saturday.
A man was nabbed on the charge of proxy voting at Alanthadka in Puttur Assembly constituency. The polling officials handed him over to Sampya police.
The arrested is Shakeer (17). He had attempted to vote in the name of an absentee voter using his EPIC card. He was identified by the polling officials and later handed over to the police, SP Ravikanthe Gowda said.
As the news began to spread, a large number of people gathered near the polling station. The police dispersed the crowd.
Ravikanthe Gowda said that in Bantwal Assembly constituency booth number 59, two persons tried to vote in the name of absentee voters carrying their EPIC cards. They were also identified by the polling officers and were handed over to the police.
The detained persons are Chozen Change (22) and Ajay Maker (24), both from Sonitpur in Assam.
Illegalities in voters’ ID: FIR filed: The Mangaluru East police have registered a first information report against 11 people on the charge of registering their names for voters’ identity cards in Mangaluru City South constituency, though their names were in the voters’ list in Kerala. In a complaint, Kottary said Nibhiya Thomas, Merin Mary, Hose K V, Stephy John, Siji Biju, Remya Jose, Remil Regi, Poornendhu V S, Ramya Tom, Anjali Tom and Ligi George have thier EPICs in Kerala.
They had applied for inclusion of their names in the voters’ list in Mangaluru City South constituency as they failed to delete their names from the voters’ list in their home town, he said.
Kottary said he has also given a complaint to City Police Commissioner Vipul Kumar in this regard.
They said such illegalities are aimed at cheating and appealed to the police to initiate action under IPC Section 420 and as per the sections in Representation of the People’s Act.