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Faith in fair poll fells Maoist fears
- 18000 fan out across Ranchi, Khunti for booth duties

Sadhu Charan Kondangkel (59), a sub-inspector from Mandar police station, has been deputed for Baruhatu in Tamar Assembly constituency, which falls under Khunti parliamentary constituency. It is an area where Maoist zonal commander Kundan Pahan’s native village is located. But Kondangkel is not afraid.

On Wednesday, as he readied to lead his team of eight CRPF and four district armed police jawans from Ranchi’s Morabadi grounds, he was overheard telling a constable: “Arre election karate karate baal pak gaye hai. Ab toh retirement aa gaya. Humein koi dar nahi. (My hair has grayed over these elections. Now, I am on the verge of retirement. I have no fear)”

nSenior manager of Bank of Baroda Brajesh Shrivastava is headed for a booth in Rahe block under Silli Assembly segment and Ranchi parliamentary constituency. He is a poll first-timer learning to conquer his fear of Maoists. “Jo hoga dekha jayega. Election toh kara hi lenge (We will see what happens. I must ensure fair polling),” he told a colleague

nRajnandan Sinha and Shahdeo Mahto, driver and khalasi of a DAV Kapildev Public School bus, have been assigned the task of ferrying a patrol team to Sonahatu in Silli via Maoist-hit Bundu. Perhaps unnerved by the thought, they decided to say “see you again” to family members. “Koi chinta nahi karna. Sab thik hai (Do not worry. Everything is fine),” Sinha told his wife over phone

Kondangkel, Shrivastava, Sinha and Mahto were among 9,741 polling and 6,578 police personnel, 60 zonal magistrates, 281 micro-observers and 1,000 drivers who left the safety of Birsa Munda Football Stadium in the capital and ventured willing or unwillingly into peril pockets to ensure that you can vote freely on Thursday.

Polling will be held at 1,981 booths under Ranchi and Khunti parliamentary constituencies, where around 16.5 lakh voters are expected to exercise their adult franchise.

Ranchi returning officer Vinay Kumar Choubey, SSP Prabhat Kumar and city SP Anup Birthare briefed members of the mammoth polling team on their roles before they left for their designated destinations on Wednesday.

“One must work without being biased against any political party. Patrolling magistrates will react immediately if there are disturbances. They must ensure that voters come in queue and co-operate with polling officials. Communication is important. Never lose touch with your colleagues,” Choubey said.

Alka Bera, a teacher of St Teresa Middle School deputed on election duty at South Eastern Railway School, said there was no scope for fear and confusion. “Everything is crystal clear. Arrangements have been smooth. Fingers crossed for a high turnout,” she said, before leaving with her team of four.


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