A man has chopped off his index finger in desperation after voting for the wrong party in India’s general election.
Pawan Kumar became confused by the symbols on the electronic voting machine and voted for Narendra Modi’s party instead of its regional rival in Uttar Pradesh state on Thursday, his brother said.
Distraught, Kumar, 25, went home and chopped off his finger with a meat cleaver.
Even though votes are cast electronically at polling stations, the index finger of every voter is marked with indelible ink after they cast ballots, to make sure they do not vote again.
“He was very happy that he was voting for the first time ever,” Kumar’s brother, Kailash Chandra, told Agence France-Presse by phone. “But once he realised his mistake, he was so distraught that he chopped off his inked finger.”
“Every time he saw his ink-marked finger, he felt angry.”
Chandra said the family rushed Kumar to the hospital, and videos circulating online showed the first-time voter with his hand bandaged.
“I wanted to vote for elephant but it went to flower,” Kumar says on one video, adding that he had not been pressured to cast his ballot for a particular party.
The lotus is the symbol of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata party, while the Bahujan Samaj party, part of an alliance fighting Modi in the northern state, uses the elephant. The party symbols are used on voting machines.
Thursday was the second day of India’s marathon election, which started on 11 April and runs to 19 May.
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