Perseverance Pays: My media campaigning on the World Disability Day; before the Delhi election; on the polling day; after the DE; complaint to ECI, CCPD, DSEC; RTI to ECI, CEO Delhi; campaigning on National Voters Day and subsequent media coverage is finally getting repaid. The CEO Delhi accepted our suggestion for inclusive elections. Hard work and strategic planning certainly works.
Todays 'The Hindu' covers the story: Call for inclusive elections Access audit of polling booths by persons with disabilities, pictorial signage for those with hearing problems, provision for wheel-chair users on the polling day and involvement of special educators to create videos for educating the polling staff - these are among the suggestions placed before the Delhi Election Commission earlier this week by a group of representatives from various disability groups to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to participate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. Disability activist Dr. Satendra Singh, who is part of the group, said: "The Election Commission in a meeting with our group acknowledged the deficiencies and has promised to rectify it at the earliest. Attitudinal barrier was acknowledged as the major hindrance." Members from the Handicapped Welfare Federation have also demanded that there should be a database of voters with disabilities and that staff from the Delhi Social Welfare Department should monitor booths. "We have also said that there is a need to include pictorial signage to help persons with psychosocial disabilities. Also, persons with cerebral palsy should have a companion to press the buttons. Currently the benefit is given only to the blind. Provision of wheelchairs on polling day is also a matter to be taken care of," added Dr. Singh. Stating that the Commission should look at establishing a helpline number for persons with disabilities, Dr. Singh added that special educators be involved in creating videos for educating and creating awareness among polling staff.