Thursday, May 23, 2024
India News

100km poll trek to village yields just 4 votes | India News

PITHORGARH: A polling team‘s four-day journey to Kanar village, one of the remotest booths in Uttarakhand with 587 registered on the electoral rolls, ended in dismay as only four villagers – and four members of the polling party – cast their votes on Friday. The dejected team returned to Pithoragarh on Saturday.
The reason behind the villagers’ apathy? A protest against the neglect of their most basic need – a road.Notably, the village had also boycotted 2019 Lok Sabha elections with zero turnout to press for the same demand.
The team of 21 – including polling officials, security personnel, and a magistrate – embarked on the journey from Pithoragarh town on Tuesday. Traversing the treacherous terrain, they reached Baram, the nearest roadhead to Kanar, after an arduous 80km bus ride, seeking respite in a primary school for the night.
At the break of dawn on Wednesday, the team embarked on a trek towards Kanar. Four porters, laden with EVMs and other essential election paraphernalia, accompanied them.
The team trekked 16km, reaching Kanar around 7pm on Wednesday, and rested at a govt school before setting up the polling booth on Thursday. Throughout their journey, sustenance was provided by Bhojan Matas (women deployed to cook in govt schools).
Manoj Kumar, a teacher and the presiding officer of the polling booth in Kanar village, lamented, “We spent four days traversing rugged paths, covering 80km by bus and 16km on foot, ascending 1,800 meters. It was disheartening to return with such a meagre turnout.”
Meanwhile, the villagers stood firm, saying the poll boycott was a testament to their long-standing struggle. “For govt, the turnout, or the lack of it, should be a wake-up call for our basic rights. We endure hardships daily, longing for a road. Authorities are not concerned about our well-being, so there is no reason for us to vote either,” said Jeet Singh, a villager, speaking about villagers’ collective frustration.

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