Residents of Anugrah Narayan Colony speak of water woes in Mango on Wednesday. Picture by Animesh Sengupta
Candidates fighting the Lok Sabha polls from Jamshedpur constituency may do well to not count on the support of a large section of residents of Mango and Mosabani.
Myriad issues ranging for lack of drinking water to shifting of the election booth to a remote locality have prompted the people of these two places to give poll boycott cry.
In Mango, around 2,000 residents of Subhas Colony, Anugrah Narayan Colony and Teachers’ Colony have decided to teach people’s representatives, who have never cared to ensure constant drinking water in the area, a lesson by not turning up to vote.
“We have been facing acute drinking water crisis in our colony for years. We had also approached the department of drinking water and sanitation, Jamshedpur, Mango Notified Area Committee and East Singhbhum district administration to bail us out, but in vain. Therefore, we have decided to boycott the polls,” announced G.D. Yadav, a local resident.
N.N. Pandey, another voter, added that they felt betrayed by the district administration as well as people’s representatives.
“When we have to put up with the lack of basic amenities like drinking water, then why should we vote? Nothing is going to change, will it?” asked Pandey.
At best, they would go to the polling booth, but would opt for NOTA, he added.
When contacted, East Singhbhum deputy commissioner and returning officer for Jamshedpur constituency Amitabh Kaushal said the administration was aware of the poll boycott plan in certain pockets of Mango.
“A section of Mango residents is refusing to vote over the problem of drinking water. We are trying to persuade them to change their plans. We don’t think all residents of these colonies are opposed to voting. In case anyone is prevented by the protesters from exercising his or her franchise, the administration will be compelled to take stern action,” he warned.
Around 15km away at Badeda village under Mosabani block of Ghatshila subdivision’s, the residents have also decided to boycott the polls in protest against the shifting of their polling booth to Somaidih village.
“On Tuesday, the Election Commission declared that our polling booth, which was at Badeda Middle School in Badeda, would be shifted to Somaidih, about 7km away on foot and 34km in a vehicle. We don’t want to travel so much to vote when we could have easily done it in the village,” said Baidnath Tuddu.
The village has 850 voters.
Subdivisional officer (SDO) of Ghatshila Girija Shanker Prasad said the booth was shifted from Badeda to Somaidih because of safety concerns. “The village (Badeda) is located close to the Naxalite stronghold of Dumaria. Polling officials would not have been safe at Badeda,” Prasad told The Telegraph.
Deputy commissioner Kaushal said that a week ago, residents of Surda in Mosabani had given a similar poll boycott call in protest against the closure of Kendriya Vidyalaya at Surda. But later, the matter was sorted out.