Photo voter slip gives many an identity

Sona Bharti

Thirty-year-old Ratan Marwadi carefully sifts through the contents of a small steel container and pulls out a piece of paper that she feels is a prized possession which she needs to hold on to for the future. This paper is a slip carrying her name and photo that identifies her as a voter from Bhudrapura, one of the slums of Ahmedabad city.

The voter slip issued by the Election Commission ahead of the assembly elections is the only identity proof she possesses since she came here from Rajasthan decades ago. "Every time we approach officials for an identity proof, we are told to bring one or the other document. It is merely an attempt to show us the door with a message that we do not belong here. Is it because we are illiterate," said Ratan.

"I am not going to lose this identity proof which not only helped me vote but will now make me count as any other human being living in this city," she added.

'Mukhiya' (head) of Bhudrapura slum, Modabhai Marwadi (75), has been taking care of his community's problems since years now. But he seemed helpless in solving the problem that he faced in his own family — till the voter slip came by. "I do not know how to divide my ration card among my four sons who all are married and now have their own families. They have already warned me against giving it to one of them and I cannot tear it into four. But now they are all happy that they have their individual identity slips," said Modabhai.

Similarly, the heads of other slums in Ramdevnagar, Ganeshnagar and Vasna believe that the photo voter slips will put an end to their woes. "Some of the people in my area have even got these slips laminated which look no less than identity cards," said Tulsi Bhatti, head of Ramdevnagar slum.

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