The Telegraph
Friday , April 18 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Our salute to their never-say-die spirit
- A VIP centenarian and two other senior citizens put their duty for a better India before failing health

The sparkle in Syed Sabira’s 108-year-old eyes couldn’t go unnoticed as she exercised her voting right in a Lok Sabha election for the sixteenth time on Thursday.

Escorted by a couple of relatives, the elderly mother of Governor Syed Ahmed reached model booth No. 15 at Ranchi’s ATI building at 11.30am. “Yeh hamesha vote deti hain; inhmein bahut utsah hain (She has never missed a vote; she is very enthusiastic),” said a female relative leading her to the secret EVM kiosk. Sabira smiled and nodded gently.

The centenarian VIP was not the only democracy diehard in the capital on Vote Thursday.

At DAV Public School in Bariatu, 88-year-old Yasoda Devi’s face beamed with pride as she came out of booth No. 296 leaning on son Dilip Kumar. The resident of Bariatu Housing Colony said she had always ignored her physical limitations when it came to her duty towards democracy.

Iss baar, mera beta le kar aaya. Hum hamesha vote karte hain (My son escorted me this time. I have never failed my voting right,” she said, sipping a glass of cooler offered by booth volunteers. Dilip added: “Ever since the Lok Sabha elections were announced, my mother was very enthusiastic and asked me to help her come. My father would have too, but he is bedridden.”

Booth No. 9, Red Cross Society building, was Nakul Swamsi’s first destination on Thursday. Leaning on his walking stick, the ailing octogenarian kept his date with the EVM. “I am unwell, but I did not wish to miss this once-in-five-year opportunity,” the 80-year-old said.

Agar achcha sarkar aayega toh hamare liye bhi kuch achcha kerega (If a responsible government comes to power, we shall be benefited too),” Swamsi sounded sanguine.

Polling agent of booth No. 295 at DAV Public School, Bariatu, Sanjay Kumar said since 7am, senior citizens had turned up in large numbers to cast their votes. “They were enthusiasm personified,” he added. Agreed volunteer Soni Parveen at Cambrian Public School. “We greeted 50 elderly voters with roses. It was a proud moment.”

Shatrughan Sinha, the presiding officer at Red Cross Society building, Morabadi, counted more female senior citizens than male at his booths.

“How spirited they were! May they cast their votes for years to come,” a booth volunteer summed it up.

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