Subodh Kant Sahay with special voters at Dhurwa in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
In a democracy, unwillingness to vote is the only handicap, sitting Congress MP from Ranchi Subodh Kant Sahay told a gathering of differently abled citizens on Thursday.
Speaking to the special voters outside his Dhurwa residence, the former Union minister promised basic amenities like ramps so that no one had an unpleasant experience while exercising their franchise. Sahay said facilities at every polling booth in the Ranchi constituency would honour provisions of The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
“Wooden ramps would be available at all polling stations. Physically challenged voters will be allowed to come inside on wheelchairs,” he said, adding that no one should shy away from their democratic duty.
Gayatri Sinha, a booth-level officer at KB Girls High School on Ratu Road, confirmed the development. “Ramps have been specially designed for the disabled who want to exercise their franchise,” she said.
Returning officer of Ranchi Lok Sabha constituency and deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey further promised that the differently abled would not have to wait in queue to cast their votes.
Vikram Ram, who works for a tent house, looked visibly satisfied after his conversation with Sahay.
Sitting on his wheelchair, Ram said: “Humlog ko Subodh bhaiya bole hain ki koi dikkat nahi hoga jab vote dene jayenge. Humlog ko lamba line mein khada nahi hona padega (Subodh bhaiya has assured us of all help when we go to vote. We will not have to wait in long queues).”
Munna Kumar, who works at a mobile store, echoed Ram. “Subodhji told us about the arrangements that would be made at the polling booths for physically challenged people like us. We will definitely cast our vote because one vote can make a big difference in a democracy,” Kumar said.
Sitting MP Sahay later told The Telegraph that during his earlier tenure, he had provided wheelchairs to several disabled citizens.
“It was my prime concern to look after their welfare. In Ranchi, there are many disabled people and I want them all to exercise their franchise,” Sahay said.