Voting remains ‘inaccessible’ for voters with disabilities

Bhubaneswar: After the polling in four parliamentary and 28 assembly constituencies in the first phase elections on April 11 in Odisha, allegations have now surfaced that no special arrangements were made for differently abled voters in many places in the State.

Social activist and founder of ‘Swabhiman’, Sruti Mohapatra in a presser on Sunday alleged that despite the instructions of the Election Commission of India (ECI) there were lack of proper arrangements for differently abled persons in many polling booths across the State due to which they could not cast their vote and it triggered resentment among them.

Mohapatra, in a letter to the Chief Electoral Commisioner (CEO), urged to impart necessary training to Booth Level Officers (BLOs) so that over 60 lakh specially abled voters of the State do not face any difficulty in exercising their franchise in the upcoming three phases of elections in Odisha.

“The BLOs have not been imparted sensitisation and orientation training. They should primarily understand the needs of disabled people. The BLO should also know how the specially abled persons should be treated and ensure point to point connectivity,” said Mohapatra.