Bengaluru, April 18 (IANS) Close to 400 of the 30,164 polling stations in the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka where voting was held on Thursday were staffed exclusively by women, an official said on Thursday.
“The 393 ‘sakhi’ (women’s) booths were staffed by 10 women, including 4 polling personnel, 3 assistants and 3 constables, with two outside and one inside the booth,” Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar told IANS here.
The maximum number of sakhi booths – 130 – were in Bangalore’s 3 parliamentary seats, followed by 46 in Bangalore Rural, 45 in Udupi-Chikamagalur, 34 in Mysore, 30 in Chikkaballapur, 28 in Mandya, 22 in Tumkur, 20 in Dakshina Kannada, 14 in Hassan and 12 each in Chitradurga and Kolar.
“The objective of all-women’s booths is to empower them and demonstrate their capability to conduct free and fair polling as in the case of men,” said Kumar.
Both men and women are allowed to vote in the all-women’s booths.
“The response has been good and the voter turnout picked up as the day progressed. Many voters were curious to know how we manage the exercise,” a woman presiding official told IANS from a booth in the city’s western suburb under Bangalore North.
Many voters were unaware of the pink booths till they stepped inside them and saw the staff were all women.
Of the 600 sakhi booths across the state, polling in the remaining 297 will be conducted in the second phase in 14 seats across western and northern regions of the state on April 23.
The vote count, as in the rest of the country, will be on May 23.