119 women polling stations set up for Lok Sabha polls

119 women polling stations set up for Lok Sabha pollsPhoto for representational purpose only

The word pink has been removed on objection of CongressDuring Telangana Assembly polls also 119 women polling stations were set up without using pink...

Hyderabad: With an aim to encourage women to cast their votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the election officials are setting up 119 women polling stations with all women polling staff in 17 Parliament constituencies that will go for polls on April 11.

However, there are no restrictions as far as the voting process is concerned. All voters, male and female, coming under that particular polling station can cast their votes in these exclusive women polling stations.

These women polling stations are being set up as part of the Election Commission of India's decision to encourage voting among women, especially in district and rural areas.

These women polling stations, also called as pink polling stations, were set up in Assembly elections held in Punjab, Goa, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and some North Eastern States.

The women or pink polling stations in other States had a touch of pink in everything-all the polling staff wore shades of pink dresses and inside of polling booth-table clothes, walls and balloons all were in pink colour.

However, the women polling stations in Telangana were different since pink is synonymous with TRS party in the State.

The Congress party raised objections on setting up pink booths, which they felt was bringing undue advantage to TRS.

Taking note of Congress argument, the Election Commission had dropped pink word from the women polling stations only in the State and gave directions to Telangana authorities to establish exclusive women polling stations, but without endorsing pink colour.

According to local officials, the presiding officer, polling staff and police personnel in these polling stations would be women and they could wear the attire of any colour of their choice except pink.

According to analysts, exclusive women polling stations are a good idea. In a patriarchal society like India, men hold the positions of authority and women find it difficult to approach them, especially if they are strangers.

There have been cases where election officials held the voters' hand and taught them how to use the EVM.

This is a deterrent for women voters, especially from rural areas. Women will feel more comfortable if there are female officials, too, is their view.

In GHMC limits, 24 women polling stations are being established in 24 Assembly segments including Saidabad Primary School (Malakpet constituency), Hindi Maha Vidyalaya, Vidyanagar (Amberpet), MS Maktha Government High School (Khairatabad), Wesley Degree College (Sanathnagar), Shantiniketan High School, Lalaguda (Secunderabad) etc.

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