An Indian man who accidentally voted for the wrong party in the country’s general election says he was so disgusted with himself that he chopped off his index finger to atone for the mistake.
In a video that has gone viral in India, Pawan Kumar says he accidentally ended up voting for the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) because he was confused by the symbols on the voting machine.
Indian voting machines use symbols beside the names of candidates so that people who cannot read are still able to vote. The 25-year-old cast his vote in the second phase of polling in the general election in Bulandshahr in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
In the video, Kumar explains that he wanted to vote for the Bahujan Samaj Party, which has a lot of support in Uttar Pradesh, but instead of pressing the BSP’s elephant button, he pressed the button with the lotus, which represents the ruling Hindu nationalist BJP.
“I wanted to vote for the elephant, but I voted for the flower by mistake,” he says.
To prevent election fraud, each voter’s index finger is marked with indelible ink after they cast their ballot.
India Today reports that Kumar was “frustrated after the error and could not control his emotions.” He attacked his own finger following the mistake. He was taken to hospital but was released a short time later.
Kumar is a member of the Dalit ethnic group who were formerly known as ‘untouchables.’ The group is a vital supporter of the BSP.
With over 900 million eligible voters, India’s election is the largest in the world. It is taking place over seven stages and initial results are expected on May 23.