Chennai: It was literally the red carpet treatment for voters at select decorated and air-conditioned booths in Tamil Nadu, being welcomed with a refreshing drink while they waited to cast their votes.
These Model Polling Stations, an initiative of the Election Commission, proved to be an instant hit with voters.
Happy voters saw pandals put up in front of the booths with proper seating arrangements. To provide much needed relief from the sweltering heat, they were provided drinking water, buttermilk and other soft drinks.
Mothers with tiny tots were a relieved lot as there were well ventilated enclosures serving as creches, replete with attendants with toys for children.
The elderly too did not have cause for complaint, as ramps were provided to them.
To cater to emergencies, if any , there were even medical amenities at these MPS.
"This is refreshing. Voting was never a pleasant experience before. It feels good to have a chair and wait beneath pandals during summer. Access to drinking water and soft drinks is more than welcome," said A Srinivasan, a voter in South Chennai.
It was a similar experience for voters at a men`s college in Madurai, when they found two booths in the premises decorated with plantain trees and festoons, welcomed like royalty and given sandalwood paste, sweets and flowers.
People entering the booths at Yadava Men`s college, catering to 868 voters, found chairs had been put up for each of them to sit till their turn to vote came.
A model EVM had been put up to teach voters how to vote. They were also given a form to jot down their opinion about the model polling booth.
The MPS are part of efforts by the Election Commission to ensure better better participation of voters in the polls. There are five such booths in Chennai, besides some in Pollachi and Madurai.