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Exclusive polling stations bring cheers to women voters

All-women staff, security forces at Pink Polling Stations evoke overwhelming response
08:29 AM May 14, 2024 IST | Rabiya Bashir
exclusive polling stations bring cheers to women voters
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Srinagar, May 13

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Srinagar Parliamentary Constituency witnessed a significant turnout of women voters on Monday— thanks to the establishment of 18 special "Pink Polling Stations".

The innovative initiative, aimed at providing a safe and comfortable environment for female voters, received an overwhelming response from the women.

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"I feel so empowered voting at this pink booth managed entirely by women. The female staff and security guards made me feel at ease, and I could cast my vote without any hesitation," said Fatima Bashir, a first-time voter from Hazratbal.

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The District Election Office had set up eight Pink Polling Stations in different areas of Srinagar, from Hazratbal Anchar to Central Sheltang. These booths were painted in pink, symbolising "Nari Shakti" (women's power). Other 10 pink polling stations were established in other districts of this constituency.

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At Bemina ITI, the vibrant pink setup was hard to miss. "I've never felt more encouraged to vote. This initiative has truly celebrated women's participation in the democratic process," said Inaya Malik, pointing to the pink decor.

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The pink stations were staffed entirely by women, from poll workers to security personnel. Additionally, each station had a designated female helper – an Asha or Anganwadi worker – to assist and guide women voters through the process.

"The female helper was so patient and supportive. She made sure I understood the process and felt comfortable throughout,” said Khalida Rashid, an elderly voter from Shalteng.

Several women voters told Greater Kashmir that they were comfortable as these booths were dedicated for women only.

They said that there is an importance of representation and genuine leadership.

Asifa Hameed (name changed) a resident of Downtown said she cast her vote for the first time.

"I really want our leader to represent J&K in Parliament. Even my mother, who never voted in her lifetime, has voted today. We want a genuine person to win," she said.

Officials present at the polling stations said that these pink polling booths were set to provide women with a space where they could vote confidently and with equity

“The practical measures implemented to facilitate women's participation, including the pink booths and female helpers, were widely appreciated by voters across the constituency, “they said.

In addition to the Pink polling booths, various other specialised polling stations were established for different segments of the population. These included Youth Man Polling Stations, Green Polling Stations, and PWD (Persons with Disabilities) Polling Stations.

Additionally, separate polling stations were set up to accommodate specially-abled individuals.

In Srinagar parliamentary constituency, there were a total of 17,47,810 eligible voters, comprising 8,75,938 males and 8,71,808 females. Additionally, there were 11,682 specially abled individuals and 705 voters who have crossed the age of 100. To accommodate this electorate, 2,135 polling stations were established across 18 assembly segments.

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