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  • Category: Elections

    Salute the anonymous Newtons

    The film Newton gave an insight into what the people behind the voting booths have to go through. We, as voters, never give them a second thought. We go to the booth, cast our vote, return. Did you thank them?

    The film showed the scenario in dangerous territory and inhospitable conditions. Even in metros, though, there is a lot the staff and officers who man the centers have to go through. It is mandatory for them to attend training sessions (and it is not going to be just one) at the given schedule. It is mandatory for them to report for duty at the voting center. No allowances are made for ill health, with the possibility of losing your job or even your pension if you do not attend the training session or report for election duty.

    On the given date, they have to be at the voting center assigned to them before 6 a.m. The centers are often nowhere near their actual place of residence. They may not get clean washrooms. They may not get time to have a proper meal or even eat anything at a specific time since voting is open the entire day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. They have to return all the equipment and other things to a designated center at the end of the day. They will likely be sitting on hard chairs or benches throughout. They will likely return home well past 10 p.m.

    To all these Newtons - a Big Thank You. You are a huge asset to our country, for our democratic system, for enabling us to exercise our national right to vote.
  • #663744
    It is very true that these people are doing an important job sometimes in an unsafe and hostile condition and certain polling booths are really in interior and remote places.

    Incidentally, long back, I have given this duty in a remote place and as the road was not good we had to reach there the previous day. There were many villagers who just came there to see us with curiosity. It was tough to pursue them to go back to their houses and telling them to come next day only. The policemen were also not very active and appearing tired with their duties.

    Anyway, the polling was smooth and no untowards incident happened but it was a stressful day.

    Knowledge is power.

  • #663746
    Yes, these people are the unsung heroes of every election from the Chief Electoral Officer to a Polling Clerk for completing the process of elections of the world's largest democratic country. Particularly conducting elections and attending the election duty in the areas where the internal extremism still persists and working as a hindrance to the poll process.

    I too join with you to say a big 'thank you' all to these guys.


  • #663750
    I know really the hardships taken by all the staff attending the duties for conducting the elections. Sometimes the problems that are being faced by them are very serious. They have to control the whole operations in the polling booth. They are vulnerable to the political local leaders. A little deviation from the procedure will be looked very seriously by the persons of one or the other political party.
    As mentioned by the other some polling stations will be very remote and the staff don't have even place to sleep and whole night they have to guard the material for elections.
    Really we should thank them for peaceful conductance of elections and giving a chance to us to vote and return safely without any problems.

    always confident

  • #663771
    Why single out Election duty officers?

    These duty officers have only one or two days job.Govt is proving all facilities and proper training to them. Majority of them are not interested in any training and repeatedly failed, seeking excuses avoiding the duty.

    There are 139 million migrant laborers in India. These migrant workers find their spaces at most inhospitable places of the country. They are into the low paying; hazardous and informal market jobs. Are they not contributing nation building?

  • #663773
    An interesting post by the author. Generally people avoid this type of duties where responsibility is more at ones level. Any lapse can be costly. Still the Govt employee have to attend it. Facilities are given but the election environment is prone to conflicts and anytime situation can worsen.
    Thoughts exchanged is knowledge gained.

  • #663776
    Why single out migrant laborers, Neeraj? We can have similar such queries, isn't it, on "singling out" only certain people. But that isn't the case. After all, there are lots of people contributing to nation-building! This thread has not been raised to single out merely, and only to focus on, those who are on election duty. It is to acknowledge them for what they do during the time of elections and show appreciation for them. As for those who are not interested in the training and the duty, well, are they a majority? I would not know, really, the stats. I am appreciating those who did fulfill their responsibilities. Kudos to them, I say.
    When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment you create trust! ~ John C. Maxwell

  • #663781
    Those who are engaged in election duty have to work under trying circumstances. I hadd to perform these duties (as polling officer, presiding officer, sectoral officer and counting supervisor), so I have first-hand knowledge of the duties and responsibilities of these Government officials.

    My younger brother will be performing election duty as presiding officer for the first time in Kolkata. All the family members are praying that his duty passes off peacefully in the extremely violence-prone atmosphere of West Bengal.

    "If you are killed in action, you go to Heaven. If you win, you rule this Earth (as beautiful as Heaven). That is why, O son of Kunti, take a firm resolve and fight!"-- Shrimad Bhagwad Gita

  • #663786
    Once in a blue moon. The election is not held every month or every year. It is once in 5 years (once in 1826 days). The election officials should consider it as a special duty performed, and should feel proud of themselves. It is the effort put in by the Election commission to conduct such an election in the heavily populated democratic nation. Planning and execution are very important. First salute and thanks to EC, and then to the Booth officials including the policemen. Finally to the voters who voted silently without creating any problem.

    Though I am not against thanking the poll booth staff, I am also not for thanking the staff for performing their allotted duty.

    No life without Sun

  • #663792
    Mr. SuN: In India, elections are held almost once in a year. It may be Lok Sabha election, Assembly election, Panchayat/Corporation election or by-election. Election is nowadays losing its charm and it is stopping developmental work very frequently.
    "If you are killed in action, you go to Heaven. If you win, you rule this Earth (as beautiful as Heaven). That is why, O son of Kunti, take a firm resolve and fight!"-- Shrimad Bhagwad Gita

  • #663795
    Undoubtedly the polling officials carry out an uphill task and A Big Thank You to all of them. Only the other day my friend was telling the hardships his father faced while performing election duties. In those days there were no EVMs and things were more complex. There was no mobile phone to be in touch with the family members and his father had to travel to a distant village to carry out the election process. He along with his team members had to walk for around five kilometres to reach the booth because the condition of the road was not suitable for a car. There was no electricity in that village and they had to carry oil lanterns to carry out their job. Their dinner was puffed rice along with coconuts and the next day people started to queue up since 5 AM in the morning. They came so early because after voting they will go to the field for farming. It was really hard to convince those people that voting starts from 7 AM.

    The situation changed a lot, but in remote villages polling officials still face hardships. The main concern is the activities of the political parties and all the time they had to remain cautious. At times, they had to run away from the booths because of the terror tactics of the political parties but they continue with their duties knowing all these risk factors.


    "Life is easier when you enjoy what you do"

  • #663803
    I can agree with Madam Neeru Bhatt (#663773) for her statement that people are avoiding these types of duties where responsibilities are more. It is a fact that many in Govt services are finding it very hard to take more responsibilities and do such type of jobs. Working 7am to 6pm sitting on hard benches does not qualify them for a salutation. Many people in India are working more than 12 hours a day in hazardous conditions.

    Do you salute the Bank official after completing your financial transaction? Do you salute the RTO official after getting your DL renewed? They are doing their job only, for that they are getting paid by the Govt from our tax money.
    You can acknowledge their work, appreciate their work and say thanks to them if you wish .No need to salute them as they are not war heroes.

  • #663936
    An excellent thread and acknowledgment to behind the scene staff. Like in any organization or a task of such mammoth proportions, the human angle in the logistical chain is vital to the very success of the task in question.
    Even though it's one day during each election, the job comes with responsibility. I like the way our ME and Mr.Shankalan have brought out the points that would certainly mean going out of the comfort zone. I feel, whether we appreciate their work or not should be questioned but, in the given background (Indian elections), these people certainly deserve a few kind words.

  • #663983
    We need to look at the two aspects. One is, your normal duty for which you are paid. The point raised by the Author is about the efforts of the people who have been drafted to the election assignments which is beyond their normal duty. It is a tough task for them in handling the politicians , their followers, Security threat etc. Definitely they deserve appreciations for conduct of free and fair elections.
    "If you don't understand my silence, you will not understand my words"

  • #663986
    I am glad that most members understood the thought behind this thread, of saluting somebody in the sense of expressing respect and appreciation, of just being kind with a simple smile, good morning and words of thanks towards somebody doing a thankless job. Keep in mind that those who were on duty in areas marked as sensitive had to stay overnight with no proper facilities, sleep on the floor for just four hours and get up to start preparing the poll booth with no provision of breakfast the next morning.
    When you make a commitment, you create hope. When you keep a commitment you create trust! ~ John C. Maxwell

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