BJP, SP help desks just a ‘hand’ away in Noida

Not a usual sight it was on Thursday when all the major rival parties of the state just sat feet away to help the voters in distress.

The workers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Samajwadi Party (SP), Congress (INC) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) had set up help desks everywhere in the city near the polling stations to assist the residents if they face any problem. Though BJP had more help desks out there, yet, at one place in Sector 20, Noida, all the rival parties were sitting just next to each other.

Speaking to one of the Samajwadi Party workers there, he alluded confidence in his candidate’s victory. When asked about the purpose of setting up a help desk even when they were sitting near a model polling station which already had a brilliant help desk, the worker said, “We are here just to help people and bridge the gap between them [voters] and us.”

The cycle has fielded Sunil Choudhary as its candidate for the Noida Assembly segment while the saffron party has once again rested its faith on last time’s winner Pankaj Singh, son of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Congress has also put forth a strong contender Pankhuri Pathak. The BSP has relied upon Kripa Ram Sharma while AAP’s candidate is Pankaj Avana.

A BJP worker who was present on a help desk near Noida Inter college told IANS that the help desks have been set up in a bid to guide the first time voters or the people who are not aware of the voting process. “There are several polling booths at one polling station. The voters get confused about where to go and cast their vote. So we are here just to guide them,” said the worker clad with a saffron muffler.

He informed that since morning they have visited six polling stations and helped several voters exercise their franchise.

The grand-old party’s workers also expressed similar sentiments for the residents. “We are basically just assisting the voters in the polling process,” said one.

The polling which began at 7.00 a.m. in the morning with some residents reaching their nearest polling booth as early as 6.30 a.m., picked up pace after a few hours. The voter turnout at Gautam Budh Nagar till 5.30 p.m. stood at 53.48 per cent.

All the party workers further said they saw a great enthusiasm this time among the residents and people were willingly coming out of their homes to cast their vote. “We are heading towards a new India,” a BJP worker said.

Notably, in the last few elections, the voting percentage of the Gautam Budh Nagar district has been very less. Especially, in the assembly constituency of Noida, the voter turnout has not even been 50 per cent.

To increase the voter turnout, the Noida administration has this year taken several steps to provide facilities at the polling stations. The facilities include provision for a waiting area, clean drinking water, toilets and voter assistance booths.

(Ujwal Jalali can be reached at ujwal.j@ians.in)

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