Hubballi: She is 108-year-old and has never missed voting in an election since 1952. Meet Nagamma Bhandari from Ron town of Gadag district, who has not lost any of her enthusiasm to vote and encourages others to do so as well.
So impressed were the employees of the Ron Town Municipal Council by her voting record that they decided to felicitate her on Tuesday. Nagamma was garlanded as she sat in her wheelchair at the polling station, in recognition of her work to spread awareness about voting all through her life.
Although she dropped out of school after class II, she is very aware of what voting means to the people and has made sure to vote in all elections, including the Lok Sabha, legislative assembly and local governing body polls. And she believes in voting in both sickness and health.
“I gave up working in the fields to reach the polling booth when we didn’t have a transport service. Those days the old and handicapped did not have special facilities at the booths,” she recalls.
Saddened at the lethargy she finds among voters today she adds, “I have voted in more than 40 elections over the past seven decades, but have never taken money from political parties and voted only for those who worked for the welfare of the poor. Although I cannot see properly due to my poor eyesight, I have not missed any opportunity to vote. This is a great opportunity for people to have their say in building the nation”
Nagamma has earned the nickname, “Mathadana Ajji’ for trying to persuade people to vote in all elections. Her poverty has never come in the way of her visiting as many homes as she can to spread awareness on voting. And today she is an example not just for her children, a son and two daughters, but also her grand, and great-grand children. But she does admit that the use of money and muscle power in elections today saddens her and wishes for a more clean and fair battle of the ballot.
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