Around 2.45 lakh senior citizens to cast vote in Durg distt this year

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 29 Oct 2018 11:26:32


Staff Reporter,


The district is home to many senior citizens who exercise their franchise in all elections consist of Lok Sabha, State Assembly elections and even municipal corporation and gram panchayat one. More than a privilege or a right, they consider voting their duty. Many of them have interesting stories to recall, for they have not only witnessed changes in election procedures but also the way candidates are chosen by political parties.

This year, too, for 4th state Assembly elections of Chhattisgarh, around 2.45 lakh voters with age group of 60 years as well as above will cast their vote in Durg district . Maximum senior citizen voters have been reported from Vaishali Nagar constituency followed by Durg-Urban, Durg-Rural, Bhilainagar, Dhamdha, Ahiwara and Patan. With so many health problems and other problems, they cannot forget their democratic power like of younger ones who mainly skip voting. J Sinha, 74, of Bhilainagar voted for the first time in 1962 in Durg. According to him, in the 1950s, ballot boxes in green and yellow were used to distinguish candidates. ‘The voting procedure was not strict. I also had the option to vote in my hometown and it was convenient for me, he added.

Many of senior citizens were of the view that, ‘The opportunity to cast vote was regarded highly. Parents had a great influence on youngsters unlike now’. A self-proclaimed party loyalist, Raman Sahu (65), a storekeeper in grocery shop stated that voting is the only thing he looks forward to in life. Having voted over 18 times, his failing health now prevents him from going overboard with excitement. ‘It is just the pull of one person, I want him to be the CM every time,’ he says, while his wife, Surjabai, 61, added, ‘It is an obsession for him. I stopped voting long ago as it does not make any difference to our lives’.

In last 3rd state Assembly elections held at state on 2013, over 82% senior citizen voters exercised their vote as against of overall 71.2% voting turnout at all of assembly constituencies in state during election. Similarly in Lok Sabha elections of 2014, 81% senior citizen voters exercised their votes as against of 70.3% voter turnout overall in Durg Lok Sabha seat.

Dr Prabhat Shrivastava (72), retired professor and educationist still stands by the promise of democracy, ‘People are getting more aware. What we need is proper regulation of election funds,’ he added. Another senior citizen and educationist Dr H N Dubey (67) pointed out that ‘People should vote for the candidate and definitely not for freebies. Not voting is not a solution. We need to vote for the better candidates’. Mohan Kumar Puri, retired engineer asserted that ‘I never waste my vote. I go as early as 8 a.m. to make sure nobody casts vote in my place. Poor voter turnout is the reason why governments are anti-people,’ he added, calling for awareness about the NOTA option. The elderly voters feel youngsters take elections lightly. He wants the youth to take charge. ‘With a huge proportion of the population below 35 years of age, the youth cannot be complacent,’ he stated. The middle class also needs to voice its concern. People from lower socioeconomic strata, struggle to make ends meet and are thankful for the freebie offered by political parties. But they believe voting is their right.

Senior citizens Ashish Kumar Sharma and vegetable vendors like Narayan Dev have been voting regularly because they feel it is their right though they struggle to meet ends. Young generation should adopt enthusiasm for voting from their seniors.