A Scene at the Polling Booth
Sanctity of the ballot box
The ballot box is the bedrock of democracy and the sanctity of the ballot box is its essence. For any democratic setup, free and fair elections are a must.
Last week, elections to the Municipal Corporation were held. Since I had become a major only two months ago and had applied for my vote, I was allowed by the authorities to participate in the franchise. It had been elaborately brought to the notice of the voters that they must bring some identification mark with them.
The booth in a school
I went to the polling booth early in the morning when the day was not so hot. The booth had been set up in a government school near our locality. There were proper security arrangements at the booth. A number of policemen who seemed very alert were standing at the gate. They were, however, very polite to the voters, particularly to women and senior citizens.
I entered from the main gate. Polling was being held in a room situated in a corner of the building. One of the policemen who was standing inside the building guided me to that room.
A long queue
As I went towards the room, I found a long queue there. Two policemen in uniform and a few in plainclothes were standing at some distance from the queue. They were all eyes on the voters standing in the queue.
My turn came
When my turn came, I entered the room. A lady asked me for my identification document. I showed her my student Identity Card. She was sitting at the first table. Then I was asked for my voter number. A gentleman consulted a list and with a pencil crossed my name on the list. Then he directed me to the third table. One representative of each of the main contestants was sitting on stools beside the officials. They were only watching and observing.
As I moved to the next table, an official asked me to sign on a piece of official paper. Then he put a black mark on the back of my left forefinger. At the next table, I was given a ballot paper. I was told how I was to fold it before putting the same into the ballot box.
I was directed to a covered tent-like place. There I picked up a stamp lying on the table. I stamped against the candidate of my choice and folded the ballot paper. Then I came out of the tent and put the paper into the ballot box. Thus I cast my vote through the secret voting system as every voter did. Now, the polling through electrical voting machines (EVMs) has also started.
A fake voter detected
As I was coming out of the room, I found some commotion inside the room. I learnt that some fake voters had been caught. He was handed over to the police and voting was resumed peacefully as earlier it was going on.
We should elect only honest men
I felt satisfied and proud as I had cast my vote for the first time. I wish there should be a free and transparent system of secret ballots. Nobody should try to subvert this system. The political parties should field only honest and hard-working candidates. Those having any criminal background should not be allowed to contest elections. The voters should also be vigilant. They should be enlightened enough to elect only deserving candidates. Only then democracy can remain on the rails.