Women voters queue up to cast their votes at a polling station
Women voters queue up to cast their votes at a polling station | PTI Photo/Santosh Hirlekar
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Mumbai: The Election Commission has for the first time decided to give sanitary pads to every woman coming to vote at the ‘sakhi matdan kendras’ in suburban Mumbai on April 29, an official said on Wednesday.

The “goodwill gesture” is aimed at encouraging more women to come out and exercise their franchise, he said.

‘Sakhi matdan kendras’, the polling booths entirely managed by women, have been set up in all 26 Assembly segments of suburban Mumbai, which consists of three administrative subdivisions – Kurla, Andheri, and Borivali, he said.

“Each woman voter at these polling booths will be given a pack of sanitary napkins as a goodwill gesture.

Besides, arrangement of cold drinks would also be made for both men and women who exercise their franchise at these booths,” the official said.

Rangoli and other art forms would be used to make these booths more attractive, he said.

As per the EC’s directive, this time around 300 polling booths entirely managed by women were set up across all 288 Assembly segments in the state for the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, additional chief electoral officer Dilip Shinde said.

It is an initiative towards gender equality and to involve women’s participation in the electoral process, another official said.

Self-Help Groups and workers of the ‘anganwadis’ (government-run women and child care centres) were making efforts to encourage women to vote in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, he said.

Lok Sabha elections to 48 seats in the state are being held in four phases. Polling for the first three phases was held on April 11 (seven seats), April 18 (10 seats) and April 23 (14 seats).

The remaining 17 constituencies, including those in Mumbai, will go to polls in the last phase on April 29.

Also read: Chart-wise breakdown of why voting in 2019 would be very different from the state polls

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