A voter says he hacked off his finger after casting his ballot for the wrong political party in India’s general election.
Pawan Kumar said he was confused by the various symbols on the electronic voting machine and mistakenly pushed the button for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) when he turned up to vote in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday.
Kumar says in a video circulating on social media that he had intended to cast his ballot for the ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The two parties have distinctly different ideologies; whereas the governing BJP is Hindu nationalist and fiscally conservative, Kumar’s preferred BSP emphasize social justice and egalitarianism.
After they cast their ballots, Indian voters’ index fingers are marked with indelible ink to prevent electoral fraud such as double voting.
Election ink is common in countries where identification documents are not always standardised.
Kumar is seen in the video cradling a heavily bandaged hand while a large cleaver lies on the floor nearby.
Like some 16 per cent of Indians, Kumar is a Dalit – ethnic minorities that have historically been oppressed by the upper classes and constitute a crucial voter base for the BSP.
“I wanted to vote for the elephant, but I voted for the flower by mistake,” he says in the video, referring to the election symbols, or party logos, which appear next to the name of each candidate on the voting machines.