By Sunil Sonker
Mussoorie, 18 Nov: Polling in the municipal election concluded peacefully, here, today. It started at 8 a.m. and concluded at around 6 p.m. in evening. Lots of enthusiasm was visible in the public for the municipal elections as voters were seen standing outside the polling booth despite the cold weather. The same enthusiasm was seen among the youth as this was the first time they were casting their votes. In Mussoorie Municipal Council, there are 22,166 total voters of which 12,439 are male and 9727 women. Around 69.9 percent of the people cast their votes for 6 candidates for president and 57 candidates for the post of members. The result will be declared on 20 November, when counting of ballot papers will be done.
Mussoorie Election Officer Meenakshi Patwal and CO Bahadur Singh said that municipal elections here were conducted in a peaceful manner, though in some polling booths there were complaints of fake voters, but this was not confirmed during investigations. They said that, in every booth, there were complaints of missing names because of which some voters exercise their franchise.
The CO said that additional police forces and PRD personnel were deployed in all 28 booths to ensure security.
In the electoral rolls of the urban body elections, many families of the city have been deprived of voting rights due to missing names. As such, there is anger against the local administration among voters. Uttarakhand Hotel Association State President Sandeep Sahni and BJP senior leader Madan Mohan Sharma said their families had been living in Mussoorie for the last 80 years. They had cast their votes in the Lok Sabha and State Assembly elections, but unfortunately their names were missing from the voter list this time.
Senior Citizen Subodh Kapoor said that due to the negligence of BLOs, the names of many voters were not on the list. There were many names, however, of persons who have died. Meanwhile, Prince Hotel resident of Anusuya Prasad Uniyal, who arrived to exercise his franchise, could not as his name too was missing. The names of Meena Kapoor’s family living in Mussoorie for the last 150 years have also disappeared from the voters’ list.
The slow pace of voting in the Mussoorie Municipal Body election led to a lot of resentment against the Election Commission and the local administration. That is why the Sector Magistrates in Booth 3, 6 and 7 had to face anger of the voters. Local residents Shashi Rawat, Geeta, Mohit, Usha Chaudhary and Ramesh Panwar said the State Election Commission had appealed to the voters to cast their votes, but voters had to face lots of problems, particularly as election officers were not trained and updated about the election process.
Youngsters like Pallavi Joshi of ward 5 and Meghna Singh of ward 3 cast their votes for the first time and were very happy and enthusiastic about the process. Pallavi and Meghna said that the youth should use their fundamental right to vote, so that public representatives could be selected according to clean image, honest and social work done.
A 45-year-old disabled woman, Sundara Devi, had to face lots of problems in reaching a polling station that was fifty metres below the main road. She had been brought by her kin in a wheel chair. No arrangement had been made by the administration for the senior citizens and disabled persons. As a result, they had to face lots of problems.