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Tea party in Outer booths

- Local youth clubs offer brew to voters waiting in queue
Women serve tea outside a polling station in Senapati district. Telegraph picture

Sadar Hills (Senapati), April 9: It is not NaMo tea, but the tea of “real democracy.”

Local villagers and members of youth clubs served tea to voters irrespective of their political affiliations in many polling stations in Sadar Hills of Senapati district throughout the polling hours during the first phase of polling for Outer Manipur today.

Ten candidates are in the fray in this reserved constituency.

Groups of villagers, mostly women, sat just outside the polling stations ready to serve tea and snacks to voters coming to cast their votes or those joining the queue of voters.

They kept huge pots filled with warm tea and disposable glasses. By noon one such group serving tea outside a polling station at Motbung had distributed 500 cups of tea. The polling station nearby has 1,008 voters. By noon, 50 per cent of the votes were polled.

“Come and have tea. We do not belong to any particular political party. We are neither workers of any contesting candidate. We are members of K. Foipi Youth Club,” Nehkhohao Singsit, a member of the youth club told The Telegraph.

This youth club served tea at the Presidency College of Motbung in Sadar Hills of Senapati district.

Three young boys and two girls sat on a bench with a kettle ready to serve tea. This correspondent also enjoyed tea at this polling station.

“The quantity of sugar may not suit you as there is a lot of sugar in it. We farmers work hard everyday so we like more sugar,” an elderly man sitting nearby explained.

“This is the Lok Sabha election. So no candidate distributes money nor do they invest on giving free tea to voters. It is at our club’s expense that we are providing tea free of cost,” Singsit said.

They said if it was the state Assembly election workers of contesting candidates would mushroom around each polling station to serve tea to the voters.

However, a group of elderly people serving tea outside a polling station near Thomas ground of Kangpokpi, also in Sadar Hills, was bold enough to admit that they were Congress workers.

“We are Congress supporters. We are serving tea to the people coming here to cast their votes. Come, you, too, have some,” an elderly lady said, offering a glass of tea to a voter.

They did not ask the voters whom they would vote for. The voters would accept the tea and walk away after thanking them.

Asked whether the Congress provided money to them for serving tea, they replied, “No. It is at our own expense.”