`Arrange to send EVMs to homes to exercise our rights`

Senior citizens aged above 70 in Ooty have urged Election Commission to arrange for sending EVMs to areas where they live, to facilitate them cast their votes for April 24 Lok Sabha polls.

PTI| Last Updated: Mar 27, 2014, 19:59 PM IST

Udhagamandalam: Too frail to walk some distance to electoral booths, senior citizens aged above 70 in this famous hill resort have urged the Election Commission to arrange for sending EVMs to areas where they live,to facilitate them cast their votes for the April 24 Lok Sabha polls.
A large number of citizens in Nilgiris District, mainly in the Primitive Tribal Group, comprising six tribes, are aged between 70 and 90 years live in old age homes, according to octogenarian Nanjan of Kollimalai area.

These tribals have seen the growth of district during the British era, during which many dams and factories were set up, benefitting local tribes and preventing their migration to nearby places to eke livelihood, he said.

However, after Independence, subsequent governments had not taken any such steps and the district`s economy was now solely depended on tourism and tea, 83-year-old Nanjan said.

Kuttan, an inmate of one of the six old age homes in and around the town, said many senior citizens, whose names are on the electoral list, are unable to walk the distance to booths and exercise their franchise on their own, thus leading to many votes going waste.

He suggested that if authorities make provision to bring the machines to old age homes or orphanages, the elderly can also participate in this constitutional process.

Rujjammal, who recently celebrated her 111st birthday also laments saying, she will not able to walk up to the booth and wanted a mechanism whereby she could also vote.

Many senior tribal citizens, numbering over 6,000, said China has a system, where election officials visit the elderly and help them cast their votes. The EC in India should also take such steps to prevent proxy votes and also make the hapless citizens participate in the electoral process, they said.