An all-women polling booth will be set up in every Lok Sabha constituency of Maharashtra during the next month’s polls in a bid to encourage more female voters to exercise their franchise. As per the Election Commission’s directions to set up polling stations entirely managed by women, such booths will be set up in all 40 Lok Sabha seats of the state, a release issued by the election office here said.
“All those deployed at such polling stations – police, election officers and other employees – will be women. These booths, an initiative towards gender equality and involving women’s participation in the electoral process, will be called as ‘Sakhi Matdan Kendras’,” it said.
As per the EC’s guidelines, there would be no specific colour code for such polling stations, the release said, adding that their security will be a top priority. Sensitive polling stations will be kept out of this experiment while those near tehsil office or police stations will be considered to be managed by women, it said.
Rangoli and other art forms would be used to make these booths more attractive and to lay emphasis on cleanliness, it added. The number of women voters this time hasincreased to 911 per 1,000 men, as against 889 per 1,000 men in 2014, as per official figures. Out of the total 8,73,29,910 voters in the state, 4,57,01,877 are men, 4,16,25,950 women and 2,083 third gender voters. Lok Sabha elections will be held in Maharashtra in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29 and results will be declared on May 23.