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Five Hour Trekking to Register a Single “Home Vote”

Five Hour Trekking to Register a Single “Home Vote”

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NEW DELHI, Apr 18: A special polling team, including three women officials, undertook a five-hour journey and trekked 18 kilometres inside the deep forest under the Idukki Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala to record a single home vote.

According to officials, the team trekked to the Nooradi tribal settlement under the Munnar forest division as part of the ‘vote-from-home’ exercise meant for senior citizens aged above 85 and differently abled voters.

According to Devikulam Subcollector V.M. Jayakrishnan, Sivalingam, a 92-year-old bedridden man in the Nooradi settlement, filed an application for home voting, which the election authorities approved. Nooradi is a remote settlement in Edamalakkudy, the first tribal panchayat in the State.

Officials said the special team travelled from Munnar to Edamalakkudy by jeep on Wednesday morning. The team reached Keppakkad, the last point accessible to vehicles, around 8 a.m. They began the trekking around 8 a.m., and after a five-hour journey, reached Sivalingam’s house around 1.15 p.m. and set up a voting compartment. Mr Sivalingam cast his vote with the assistance of his grandson S. Mohanan. After completing the voting process, the team reached Keppakkad around 7 p.m.

Officials said the special team led by Munnar Engineering College assistant professor Jisha Merin Jose comprised Munnar Vocational Higher Secondary School teacher M. Asha; Munnar Divisional Forest Office (DFO) clerk A.V. Decimol; Edamalakkudy village officer Syam G. Nath; beat forest officers Abhishek K.S. and Shibindas C.L.; civil police officer Anish Kumar K.R.; forest protection watchers K. Raman, Sivasenan; and booth level officer Jayakumar.

Mr Jayakrishnan said the special team would be honoured soon in consideration of the effort put in by them. Idukki Collector Sheeba George said the attempt indicated the value assigned to every single vote.

Meanwhile, at the other end of the country in Jammu and Kashmir, people in the Dadhkai village, also known as ‘silent village’ of India and situated in Jammu and Kashmir’s Gandoh area of Doda district, are eagerly waiting to cast their votes. Three mute sisters, the first timers, are more enthused and are inspiring the other villagers to vote.

Doda is part of the Udhampur parliamentary constituency which is going to polls in the first phase on Friday to decide the fate of 12 candidates including Union minister Jitendra Singh of the BJP, former MP Choudhary Lal Singh of the Congress and former minister G M Saroori of the DPAP.

The hilltop tribal village, 105 km from Bhaderwah town, is home to 105 families. Of these, 55 families mysteriously have at least one person who can neither speak nor listen. There are 84 such people in the village, of which 43 are women and 14 children below 10 years. Despite having hearing and speaking disabilities, the three siblings — aged between 20 and 24 — are upbeat about participating in the polling after their names were included in the electoral rolls.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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