Mehendi stalls, live music performances: Voting peacefully, but not without incident

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A live band played outside a voting booth set up at the Fazilka City Public School for Boys to entertain voters young and old as Punjab voted in a crucial election on Sunday.

The vibrancy of the Democracy Festival was on full display across the state as authorities pulled out all the stops to entice voters to vote. The live music show was part of Fazilka DC Babita Kaler’s efforts which also involved a van displaying flex sheets with voter awareness messages. The state has also set up beautifully adorned “pink booths” with all-female election staff. One of these stands was Fazilka stand no. 118 where mehandi arrangements have been made for female voters.

Several women who came to vote were then seen having mehendi applied to their hands for free by heena artists.

At stall number 141 in Malerkotla, a 109-year-old voter, Naseeban, was escorted to the stall by teams from the district administration and the NGO Divyaang. She arrived at the stand to the rhythm of the dhol in the company of her son, her daughter-in-law and her grandchildren.

“She was also welcomed inside the stand. We gave her the opportunity to vote at home, but she insisted on coming,” said DC Madhvi Kataria. Even voters from a slum near the government college, Malerkotla, were treated as special guests as they were greeted at the stand by the DC and other senior polling officials.

In Mansa, DC Mohinder Pal voted with his wife and daughter. Many officers had their selfies clicked at the selfie points set up in the cabins.

In Jalandhar, a ‘super model’ polling station was set up inside HMV College. The polling station was equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including a waiting room for visitors, crèche facilities, wheelchairs and golf carts for the disabled, a Verka booth and a token system for voting. There was an elaborate arrangement to help people follow proper Covid behavior.

The seniors received the plants after voting. They were taken in golf carts to the voting rooms.

Deputy Commissioner Ghanshyam Thori said the main motive was to make the voting experience enjoyable and rewarding. He said there were nine Assembly constituencies – Adampur, Kartarpur, Nakodar, Shahkot, Phillaur, Jalandhar Cantt, Jalandhar Central, Jalandhar North and Jalandhar West – in the district and a total of 59 polling stations models were installed in these segments.

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