Shimla: Of 56,343 persons with disabilities (PwD) voters, 49,917 such voters cast their votes in the recent assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh on November 12, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Maneesh Garg said on Tuesday.
He said 6,882 PwD voters with more than 40 per cent disability opted postal ballot facility, of which 6,426 of them cast their vote through specially deployed teams.
One such PwD voter was Pawan Kumar (34) of Bajan village in the Arki assembly constituency, who preferred to visit the nearest polling booth.
Pawan, a computer teacher in Saraswati Vidya Mandir, a private school in Mangu in Solan district, said he was proud to participate by visiting the polling booth on his own and cast his vote.
“The election department has made elaborate arrangements for special category voters, but I prefer to move on my own, though I was offered a wheelchair by the authorities,” he said.
Similarly, Om Prakash (50) from Ser-Bharaal village of Baag Pashog panchayat in the Pachhad assembly constituency, who is bedridden for eight years, voted through postal ballot after gap of 11 years or so.
He said due to the new initiative of the Election Commission of India it was for the first time in the state that special category voters participated in the election process by way of postal ballots.
“I thank Chief Electoral Officer Maneesh Garg, who visited me personally to motivate me and honour me, besides thanking for participating in the electoral process,a he said.
Various initiatives like issuing Form-12D for 80 plus, PWD and essential services voters have borne encouraging results for the November 12 polls as 98.5 per cent postal ballots have been received.
The counting of the ballots will be held on December 8.
A seasoned journalist with over two decades of experience, Vishal writes on a wide range of subjects which include biodiversity, climate change and links between environment & development. He also covers politics and other developments in Punjab and Himachal Pradesh. He lives in Chandigarh & Shimla.