Vikash Sharma

Excitement was on the zenith, especially among the young voters to exercise their franchise in the penultimate phase (Phase-6) polling in different states, including Odisha where third phase of polling is underway on Saturday. However, there were the elderly voters, some on wheelchairs and few on oxygen support, who raised the bar and set an example for the young voters to ensure that they also take part in the biggest festival of the democracy.

“Many people think that it doesn’t matter if they do not vote. However, they are wrong as it is everybody’s responsibility to exercise their franchise,” said an elderly voter.

Another elderly voter who also had discharged duty as a presiding officer said, “Earlier we used to spend three days for conducting a polling in a particular area and things were totally different. But things have changed now and every focus is being given on facilities for voters.”

Another 82-year-old voter said, “I queued before a polling booth in Bhubaneswar sharp at 7 am. I always make it a point to vote first and get to other works later.”

A patient was seen visiting Rajbhawan UP School in Bhubaneswar with oxygen concentrator to exercise her franchise despite her critical illness. “I think it is my duty towards the development of the nation. I am facing problems in breathing and despite this I turned up for the voting,” she said.

The patient’s husband said, “My wife is under treatment since 1998 and she is using oxygen concentrator. All facilities were good here that allowed us to vote on priority. Everybody has to exercise their franchise to make our democracy stronger and for the development of the state and country.”

A total of 94.8 lakh voters will decide the fate of 64 candidates in the six Lok Sabha seats - Sambalpur, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Puri. The voters will also decide the fate of 383 candidates who are in fray in the 42 assembly seats in the third phase under these Parliamentary segments here in Odisha.

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