“It has been a practice to make special arrangements to take our senior residents to polling booths in privately owned buses. This saves time and energy. All the voters were enthusiastic about exercising their franchise and the bus had to make two trips,” said Vijay Raikar, manager of Pashan Athashri.
The polling booths for the 350 Athashri residents, including a number of elders in Pashan were in Sutarwadi and Abhinav Art College. “By 11 am, we were back home after voting,” said Suhas Bapat, a resident. Eighty-one-year-old VS Raja said, “I never miss an opportunity to cast my vote. Since the transportation was arranged, there was no question of being sluggish and not stepping out to vote.”
At the Athashri in Bavdhan, only ten residents voted. “There are 105 flats in this society. In the occupied flats, there are 55 residents and out of that, only ten people voted. The others did not show interest,” manager Deepak Patil said.
An office-bearer of ‘Nivara’, an old-age home in Navi Peth, said, “There are around 140 residents here. Many of them are too old or preoccupied with their own problems. For the Lok Sabha polls, some of the inmates voted. But this time, nobody seemed keen.”
However, the overall picture was not discouraging. Like 75-year-old Vishwanath Bhatt near Bopodi, whose weak eyesight did not deter him from casting his vote, many senior citizens ventured out and voted. While waiting for a vehicle to ferry him to the polling booth, Bhat said, “I have been voting for the last 35 years and always make it a point to exercise my franchise. Though my eyesight has become weaker, it will not pose a problem when I vote.”