New Delhi, Nov 29 (UNI) Braving the winter chill and the shadow of terror in the wake of the Mumbai attacks, senior citizens turned out in large numbers to exercise their franchise as polls to the Delhi Legislative Assembly got underway here.
Despite their age and frailing health, the elderly were among the first voters in many constituencies in East Delhi, which witnessed a by and large lukewarm response to the polling.
Exemplifying the indomitable spirit and enthusiasm for the poll exercise was 100-year-old Kamla, who arrived to cast her vote at a polling booth in the Patparganj Assembly constituency.
A resident of Mayur Vihar, Kamla had to be assisted by the policemen and polling staff present at the booth to cast her vote.
''For the last 50 years, she has not missed any election.
Whatever her health, she has made it a point to vote in every election during this period,''Kamla's granddaughter Sneha said.
In a way, Kamla exemplified the enthusiasm and faith of these senior citizens in the Indian democratic process.
At a polling booth of the Trilok Puri Assembly constituency, 80-year-old Azma Jehan was among the early voters to exercise their franchise. Despite being disabled (she had to be assisted by policemen at the booth), she came all the way from her house in Chilla village to cast her vote.
''Last week, she hurt her legs after falling from the stairs of the house and has since been bedridden. However, despite her injury, she insisted on going and casting her vote,'' her son Anwar, who accompanied her, said.
In other constituencies like Laxmi Nagar, Krishna Nagar, Vishwas Nagar, Kalyan Puri and Shahdara too, the senior citizens came out to vote in large numbers. For example, in a polling booth in Trilok Puri, out of 82 people who cast their vote till 1030 hrs, nearly 25 to 30 were senior citizens.
With their indomitable faith in the Indian Democratic process and their infectious enthusiasm, Kamla, Ahmed Jehan and several others like them showed the way to many young voters who had not come out to cast their vote till afternoon.
Almost 21 per cent of the electorate of Delhi had cast their vote in 69 assembly constituencies till 1200 hrs.
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