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Poll adds to health woes

A fractured leg, an enlarged liver and various other health complications have not spared few residents from poll duty.

Ever since 37-year-old Sanjay Sao came to know he has been assigned poll duty, hes been making rounds of the district election office. His right leg is a cause of worry since an accident six years back.

Sao isnt the only one. The Telegraph spoke to at least three more persons who have been assigned poll duty in spite of health complications. Only one has been exempted.

If the medical board, set up by the district office, clears a person, he/she has to appear for poll duty or face action.

Helplessness has taken over Sao, a Grade IV employee at TK Ghosh Academy, a school on Ashok Rajpath, who gave an application to the medical board seeking exemption from the duty. Refused one, he is rushing from pillar to post with a walking stick in hand that allows him to stand up on his feet. The marks left from the 2008 accident are still visible.

He said: I suffered a five-inch fracture in my right leg in 2008 when a truck hit the four-wheeler I was in. There are times when I feel severe pain and my right leg swells up and I am unable to walk. My treatment is on under orthopaedic surgeon John Upadhyaya.

Shishir Kumar (59), an administrative officer at LIC, divisional office-2, has been assigned poll duty even though he has an enlarged liver.

He said: My liver has enlarged by 33 per cent. Doctors have advised me not to take stress or walk too much as it could be hazardous and even lead to liver failure. I suffer from breathing problems and my blood pressure, too, is high. All of these conditions make me unfit for poll duty. I have visited the district election office at least 10 times seeking exemption since it was confirmed. The district election office might register an FIR against me if I dont report for poll duty.

A source said the district election office can send them outside Patna too.

Asked how ailing people have been assigned poll duty, R. Lakshmanan, the additional chief electoral officer, said: If doctors in the medical board have not exempted any person from poll duty, that means the person concerned is fit for it. If there has been some mistake on the part of the medical board, it should be brought to the notice of the district election office. We would definitely look into the matter.

Arun Kumar, development officer (administration), The New India Assurance Co. Ltd, said: My name had figured on the list brought out by the district election office on persons exempted from poll duty. When I got a text message from the district election office that I was in for poll duty, I visited the office and complained to a senior official. He exempted me, said Arun.