Inmates of Chennai’s Institute of Mental Health cast votes at special booth on premises- The New Indian Express

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Express News Service

CHENNAI: Inmates of the Institute of Mental Health cast their votes on Tuesday at the special booth set up by the Chennai Corporation on the premises.

The polling of votes at booth number 244B in Villivakkam Assembly Constituency began around 7 am. A total of 84 inmates were registered in the booth, among whom 56 were men and 28 were women.

The inmates were selected for voting only after doctors assessed their decision making ability. Chennai Corporation officials conducted a demo on EVMs and NGOs went ward by ward and sensitised inmates on the importance of voting. They also made them familiar with symbols of various political parties. The inmates had access to all newspapers and also have television to watch news, said Dr P Poorna Chandrika, Director, Institute of Mental Health.

The inmates want whichever party comes to power to focus on bringing down increasing petrol prices, bus fares and prices of other commodities.

“Whoever comes to power should focus on bringing down increasing petrol prices, vegetables and other essential items. I thank the institute and the officials who gave me this opportunity to vote and I feel happy,” said Vimala*, who has made the institute her home for years.

Sanjay* wants the government to focus on agriculture which is important for boosting the country’s economy. “The newly elected government should focus on agriculture and post Covid industrial progress. Many people have lost their jobs. The government should focus on employment as the livelihoods of many underprivileged were badly affected by the pandemic. Increasing petrol prices also is a worry,” says Sanjay who is employed in the institute after treatment.

The inmates said they were happy to cast their votes for the second time. They were allowed to participate in the voting for the first time in the 2019 general elections.

The inmates were given polythene hand gloves and face masks. They were given voter ID cards with the institute’s address as many don’t have family or relatives.

“Many who were here for general elections were discharged, so we told them also to come and vote as they have their vote here. Today hospital staff also voted here,” said Dr Poorna Chandrika.

(*name changed)

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