New Delhi, Nov 17 (PTI) For the first time in the country's electoral history, all polling booths in an assembly constituency were managed by all-women teams, the Election Commission (EC) said on Friday. The panel was referring to the 201 booths in Raipur (North), where polling was held in the second phase of the Chhattisgarh assembly elections.
This has happened for the first time in any assembly seat of the country, the commission said and added that 1,046 women were deployed in the 201 polling booths.
"These all-women managed polling booths provided a sense of comfort and security to all voters, especially women and voters of the third gender for more inclusive elections," the EC said in a statement.
Seventy assembly seats in Chhattisgarh went to polls in the second phase on Friday, while elections were held in all the 230 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh. The first phase of polls in Chhattisgarh was held on November 7.
The Sonewani polling station in Madhya Pradesh's Balaghat assembly seat registered a 100 per cent voter turnout with all 42 electors -- 26 women and 16 men -- casting their vote, the EC said. A poll panel functionary recalled the statements of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar in Bhopal and Raipur urging all women, transgenders, persons with disability, voters who are 80 years and above and youngsters to turn up at polling stations to exercise their franchise and ensure greater turnout from all sections of society.
Based on an EC decision that polling stations should be accessible for voters, 11 polling booths were set up in the Bharatpur-Sonhat assembly constituency in Chhattisgarh that had fewer than 100 voters.
"Sheradand, for example, had only five voters for whom a polling booth was set up. These booths are in remote and inaccessible locations where polling personnel had to traverse through dense vegetation and navigate difficult terrain to reach," the commission said.
The EC said it made concerted efforts to facilitate voting among members of tribal communities. This resulted in 100 per cent enrolment amongst the particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs) residing in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
There were more than 7.52 lakh voters belonging to the PVTGs -- Kamar, Bhunjia, Baiga, Pahadi Korwa, Abujhmadia, Birhor in Chhattisgarh, and Sahariya, Bhariya and Baiga in Madhya Pradesh.
"The commission comprising CEC Kumar along with ECs Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel through constant monitoring and reviews ensured that voting is free, fair, inclusive and accessible for the vast electorate comprising a grand total of 7.23 crore voters in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh together," it said. PTI NAB NAB ANB ANB