The Election Commission has announced several measures to ensure greater participation of women in the electoral process during the upcoming Gujarat Assembly polls and will set up a ‘pink polling booth’ to be completely managed by women officials in each of the 182 constituencies of Gujarat during the upcoming Assembly polls. The move is aimed at ensuring greater participation of women in the election process. The measure comes after a pilot project was conducted in Goa earlier this year when it went to polls.
Gujarat has a total 48,000 polling stations in the state. Of them, 182 will be pink booths. Each of the pink polling booths will have at least 10 women poll personnel. The EC will hire women for several positions such as presiding officers, polling officers, micro observers, security personnel etc.
‘Gujarat will be the first state to have all-women polling booths in each of the assembly constituencies. Goa had recently experimented with one pink booth,’ chief electoral officer of Gujarat BB Swain said.
Asked the reason for setting up pink polling booths, which will remain open for male electorates as well, the EC officer said it is a symbolic gesture as they attach a lot of importance to gender parity.
‘We are planning to put up auxiliary booths for disabled voters. We are trying to locate the big institutions for disabled in Gujarat where we can set up the auxiliary booths,’ the officer added.
Gujarat has a total 4.25 crore voters. Of these, 2.03 crore women. Apart from the cause of gender parity, the EC is also showing its concern towards the physically disabled and is planning to set up auxiliary booths.
The Goa Election Commission took this step to encourage its strength of female voters to cast votes. Interestingly, Goa has around 5,62,930 female voters and it is close to 20,000 more than the male voters.
To celebrate women empowerment, Assembly elections in Goa’s pilot project had one pink polling station each in all the 40 constituencies in the state. One polling booth in every assembly constituencies was manned exclusively by all women officers. All security personnel being women. Its display of woman power and all polling personnel on those booths to wear pink dresses particularly.
As the tenure of the current legislative assembly in Gujarat expires in December 2017, assembly elections will be held in the state again towards the end of 2017 or January 2018. The dates will be announced officially by the Election Commission of India few months prior to it. Polling begins in December in Gujarat this year. The Election Commission’s official notification is likely to come in November.