Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 July 2019

Indian man cuts off finger after accidentally voting for Modi's party

The man had become confused by the symbols on the electronic voting machine

An Indian voter gets his finger marked with ink as he votes at a polling station in Chennai, during the second phase of the mammoth Indian elections. AFP
An Indian voter gets his finger marked with ink as he votes at a polling station in Chennai, during the second phase of the mammoth Indian elections. AFP

An Indian man cut off his index finger on Thursday after mistakenly voting for the wrong party in the country’s national election.

Pawan Kumar has gone viral after two videos posted on social media showed his index finger cut off and him explaining that he had become confused by the symbols on the electronic voting machine, proceeding to pick the option he did not want.

He voted for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party instead of its regional rival in Uttar Pradesh state on Thursday.

Distraught, Mr Kumar 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," Mr Kumar's brother Kailash Chandra said.

"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."

A second video showed the butcher's knife on the ground outside a toilet, with Kumar stood nearby holding up his hand with a bandage over the missing appendage.

"I wanted to vote for elephant but it went to flower," he says on the video.

The lotus is the symbol of the Bharatiya Janata Party while the Bahujan Samaj Party, part of an alliance fighting Mr Modi in the northern state, uses the elephant. The party symbol is used on voting machines.

"I went home and chopped off my finger with the cleaver," said Mr Kumar. He said no pressure had been put on him over his vote.

Thursday was the second day of India's marathon election which started on April 11 and runs through to May 19.

Updated: April 19, 2019 03:30 PM

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