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Odisha Elections 2019: What Exactly Are ‘Pink Booths’?

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23 April 2019

Himansu Mohapatra

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Bhubaneswar: In one of their novel initiative to encourage women voters’ participation in the 2019 elections, the Election Commission has set electoral booths   managed entirely by women this time.

Women polling officers manage the whole affair with a woman presiding officer in such booths, and special arrangements are done at these booths for pregnant women, persons with disabilities (PwD), etc.

Talking to media persons, Odisha Chief Electoral Officer Surendra Kumar informed, “According to the directions of Election Commission, the booths which were referred as pink booths will not be called so now. The use of word ‘pink’ is not appropriate. It will be referred as ‘All Women Operated Polling Station’ because colours can be deceptive.”

Further clarifying on the topic, he said, “Colours are associated with political parties and sometimes objections are raised.  In the past, some political parties had objected the use of any particular colour. So I would request the media persons not to use ‘pink booth’ in reporting.”

There are 38 such polling stations in Odisha which are fully operated by women. From women first polling officers to their attire and background, pink color is commonplace at these booths.

Shakuntala Jena, Presiding Officer of All Women Operated polling booth in Dhenkanal said, “We are given the opportunity to handle a full booth which is a matter of pride of us. We initiated a mock poll at 5:45, in which the poll agents checked the proper functioning of EVM machines. They were satisfied with the process. All are enthusiastic for this all women polling booths.”

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Surendra Kumar, CEO, Odisha

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Sakuntala Jena, Presiding Officer, Dhenkanal