SRINAGAR: The government did not care to provide food, bedding, and any furniture to the polling staff deployed since Tuesday night at the government-run library in Fateh Kadal where a polling station was set up.
The nearly 10 polling staff members were sitting in the hall above the library on the naked floor, without food, and with no table or chair around. Voters would have had to sit on the ground to cast their vote, an inconvenience that did not much matter because hardly any voter turned up.
“We reached here at 11pm Tuesday night. The floor was uncovered. There was no furniture and we were not provided any food by the government,” said one of the polling staff, requesting anonymity.
The polling staff members were brought here from Bemina, where they had lunch on Tuesday afternoon. Since then, they had not been provided any food by the government.
This reporter met the staff at 11am on Wednesday, nearly 12 hours after their deployment. The polling staff said that a local police officer in his personal capacity later arranged temporary floor covering – a plastic sheet – for the staff to sleep at night. The staff had spread the plastic sheet in one corner and on it they spent the night. They had also arranged the voting machines in front of them on the floor. There was no chair or table.
Did they get anything to eat today? A policeman, who had been brought here from Ganderbal, told Kashmir Reader that a group of CRPF men shared their food with them.
“When they saw us without food, they out of humanity shared their food with us,” he said.
“I have done many polling duties in the past, but it was never that we were without food. I have never seen a day and night like this in my life,” said another polling staff, who is a gazetted officer of the government.