Maharashtra: Grooms, seniors, youth, first-timers, transgenders celebrate festival of democracy

Nagpur, April 19 (IANS): Giving priority to voting over their nuptials on E-Day, at least two bridegrooms, one in Chandrapur and another in Ramtek (SC) constituency, turned up attired in full wedding gear and stood in the queues to exercise their franchise, on Friday.

The duo -- Swapnil Dangre from Ramtek and Ganesh B. Patil from Chandrapur earned smiles and even some good wishes for their married life after they displayed their inked fingers and quietly left for their wedding 'mandaps'.

Almost through the day of the festival of electoral democracy, snaking queues of enthusiastic voters were witnessed, braving the harsh temperatures in Nagpur, Chandrapur, Bhandara-Gondiya, Ramtek (SC), Gadchiroli-Chimur (ST).

In all these Parliamentary constituencies spread across the eastern Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, lakhs of people cast their votes, comprising many first-time voters, youth, senior citizens and transgenders, many arriving well in advance to ensure their turn before the Sun breathed fire.

A touching spectacle was seen in Gadchiroli-Chimur where the locals brought 9 handicapped senior citizens in a 'rath yatra' (chariot procession) accompanied by a brass band playing on the roads, to cast their votes.

An 85-year-old bespectacled farmer cast his vote in Bhandara-Gondiya and then smiled for the media as other voters looked on at the grandpa comfortably clad in white dhoti, kurta and a Gandhi cap.

Scores of excited youngsters, all first-timers and many of them junior college students, reached polling stations in all the constituencies, accompanied by their parents or close relatives, cast their votes and then emerged all smiles at having performed their maiden national duty.

Accosted by her mother, a 19-year old girl voted for the first time at a polling booth in Gadchiroli-Chimur, and later said she was thrilled to participate in the democratic exercise while promising to always vote in future.

At other booths in Bhandara-Gondiya and Ramtek (SC), several senior men and women, all 80-plus were seen slowly arriving at the polling centres, some aided by a walking stick, some in wheelchairs brought by their relatives, and a few even helped along by other aged colleagues to cast their votes.

Several polling stations saw girls from the minority community, mostly first-time voters, sporting 'burqas', trooping to the venues, awaiting their turns to vote and then happily stepping out to show their inked fingers, or clicking group-selfies for uploading on social media.

This time, the Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) initiated the concept of 10 theme-based polling stations to give voters a unique experience.

While six thematic polling centres came up at different places in Nagpur, 4 were seen in Ramtek (SC) on various topics like bamboo forest, defence forces, agriculture, infrastructure like Metro Rail, textile, one on the transgender community with a rainbow.

Besides, as in the past, few LS and Assembly elections, model 'Pink Booth' manned by all-women staff, with special arrangements for physically challenged, lured the voters at Nagpur, Gadchiroli-Chimur, Chandrapur, Bhandara-Gondiya on Friday.

The voting went off peacefully, and smoothly, under tight security, including in the Maoist-infested regions, without reports of any untoward incidents from any of the 5 Lok Sabha constituencies till the end of polling hours this evening.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at:



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Title: Maharashtra: Grooms, seniors, youth, first-timers, transgenders celebrate festival of democracy

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