Election goes pink and green

SOHRA/SHELLA: Accompanied by a young polling volunteer on one side and a relative on the other, a 75-year-old man at Sohra was seen making his way to the polling station and after casting his vote for the Shella bye-election, he would only say, “We have to vote and it is what we should do”.
His wife said he had vision problems. Asked, she said that elections do have their benefits and the development in the constituency has been fine.
Some appeared to have resigned to their fate, exercising their franchise merely as a ritual. A group of young voters at Shella, for instance, said they had become used to the bad road conditions. A young girl, who was a first-time voter last year, expressed dismay that Shella does not have a higher secondary school with the nearest being in Mawlong. She studied till class 12.
While travelling to Majai, The Shillong Times team stumbled upon BJP candidate Joshua Warjri. Speaking briefly, he confidently said, “I have a chance….. all of us are in a close fight. The non-tribal and tribal votes are divided”.
An official at the SDO’s office, Sohra informed that non-biodegradable materials were used in the elections.
Locally-made mats, bamboo baskets, jute bags, seed pens, earthen pots to keep the indelible ink were introduced to make it a green election.
Despite the sweltering heat in Shella, voters turned up with women in the traditional attire of the area. A little ahead in Majai, an elderly couple returning from work on their paddy field said they did not go to vote. “No, we did not go to vote, our children did,” the woman said.
Voters in Sohra trickled in slowly to their respective polling stations in the early and sunny morning hours. The Mawpun polling station with 508 voters was turned into a model polling station while the one at Sohra Government College was an all-women affair with 540 voters; pink obviously was the reigning colour.
Both the polling stations had the facilities of a crèche and were manned by young volunteers.
A 13-year-old poll volunteer at the Mawpun polling station said she and the others were there to help the elderly, the disabled and play with the children at the crèches while their guardians cast their votes . “It makes us happy,” the four poll volunteers said in unison.
A class IX volunteer at the Sohra Government College, Pobitra Boro, said the volunteers also saw to it that people do not throw around plastics.
At Maw-ki-Syiem, PwD-friendly polling station was made.

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