EVMs return blank as 26 villages boycott poll in HP villages
Protesting over lack of development and laxity in the basic amenities, voters from 26 villages under Mandi parliamentary constituency boycotted polling today.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh's wife Pratibha Singh is contesting from the constituency.
Bir Singh, District Electoral Officer and Deputy Commissioner Lahaul-Spiti told UNI on phone that not a single voter turned up at Kardang and Labjung polling booths under Lahaul Sub-division and Chhaling under Udaipur sub-division in Lahaul Spitti district after the villagers had given a call of boycotting the poll. He said despite call of boycott in Kerpet (251 voters) and Jasruth (126) villages of Udaipur about only ten and two voters respectively exercised their vote till noon but half of the villagers could not be persuaded to vote despite an appeal by the Election Commission (EC) not to boycott the poll.
As many as electorate of 783 voters from five villages had given a call of boycotting the election on pretext of non-development.
The vice-president of Gram Panchayat, Kamdam Ashok Kumar, said five villages including Chhaling, Jasrath and Karpet village of Udaipur sub-division and having about 507 voters decided to boycott the poll as development works like demand of foot bridge, construction of road and recruitment of staff in the school had not been fulfilled since long time. Similary, Kardang and Labjang villages near district headquarters Keylong in Lahaul sub-division having about 276 registered voters did not cast their votes as the villagers had boycotted on the pretext that the snow had not been cleared from the road in their villages.
The Lahaul-Spiti district has about 22,581 total voters comprising 11,300 females.
About 80 polling booth were constituted by the Election Commission in which Hikkam in Spiti valley was the highest polling booth of the world at the height of 15,500 ft above the sea level having 333 voters.
Fresh reports coming here said that under Mandi parliamentary constituency, there were reports of boycott of polling in three villages of Kullu district as villagers did not turn out at the polling booth of Paderli village of Banjar , Sapneel and Berni under Kullu and Solang village under Manali sub-divisions. The report from Rampur, under Shimla district, said about 17 villages under Ani sub-division have boycotted the poll. About 1200 electorate of 12 villages under Bhakhana gram panchayat boycotted polling due to the apathy of state government for not constructing the road.
Chawi, Juban and Bingul gram panchayat comprising of Barala community did not cast their vote as they are anguished over bringing them out of reserve category and wrongly placed in general category since 1999 onwards by making amendments in revenue records.
(Posted on 08-05-2014)