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Walked miles only to be let down

Narganjo (Jamui), April 10: Gautam Kumar Mohali (19) of Narganjo would have pressed a button on the EVM for the first time today. He may now have to wait five more years.

The student from Sunder Singh College in Sheikhpura had returned to his native place to cast his vote. But the Jamui administration postponed polling in booth No 253 and 18 other booths in Jamui fearing a Maoist attack.

Gautam and first-time voters, like Kartik Kusum, Salvesdar Tudu and Sunil Kumar were disappointed. Many others from Jurpania, Mayurnacha, Dehkio and Ghormara villages, 7-8km from Narganjo in Barakola panchyat in Jamui, too, could not vote today. Semion Soren and James Soren are railway employees at Mughalsarai and Arun Soren at Ranchi. The three Narganjo residents came yesterday for today’s poll. “We managed leave but voting has been cancelled. If there is a repoll, how can I skip duty again,” asked an angry James.

Jamui returning officer-cum-district magistrate Shashi Kant Tiwary said not a single polling personnel was ready to turn up at the 19 booths, including Narganjo, as these fall deep inside the Maoist hotbed. Tiwary said: “We did not want to take unnecessary risk and decided to go for repolling.” He pointed at the Bhimbandh incident in which the Maoists ambushed and killed two CRPF personnel today.

Inspector-general of police, Bhagal range, Jitendra Kumar said polling was postponed as the administration had information the outfits could target polling parties and security personnel. “We will conduct repoll with elaborate security soon,” he said. Tiwary said the 19 booths could see repolling on April 12.

Despite the boycott call, voters had turned up in large numbers at two booths in Narganjo around 7-8 am. “When all of us could travel 7-10km through inaccessible terrain, what is the justification in cancelling voting,” asked Thuda Baski (78) of Narganjo. Mangu Hembrum (70) said the administration should have considered the ground reality. “We, innocent voters, could ignore the rebels’ call but the administration, with all its men and gun power, gave in to the rebels,” said Budhani Besra (43), a homemaker at Mayurnacha hamlet, 7-8km from Narganjo.


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