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Dumka calls in with dilemma

Ranchi, April 24: Sealed in indelible ink and locked in EVMs. Along with Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sushma Swaraj, Dayanidhi Maran, A. Raja and Salman Khurshid, the fates of Jharkhand’s very own Shibu Soren and Babulal Marandi were decided on the sixth day of Lok Sabha elections today, where 117 constituencies across 11 states and the Union Territory of Puducherry went to polls.

But, among 117 seats, including four in Jharkhand, Dumka was a standout, its voter arguably butted the hardest by the proverbial horns of dilemma.

He or she had to choose between former chief ministers Shibu (JMM) and Babulal (JVM), if not under the sway of NaMo wave and BJP’s self-appointed dhartiputra nominee Sunil Soren.

And Dumka voters, agonising over both, flooded the chief electoral office control room at Dhurwa in Ranchi with calls at toll-free number 1950. Respect for Guruji (Soren Sr also goes by the tag of Disom Guru) and fondness for Babulal were the two main concerns of Dumka callers.

Since 6am, the bustling control room at the chief electoral office (formally called cabinet election department) was ringing.

Kisko vote dein? “Babulalji ya Guruji? (Who shall I vote? Babulal or Guruji)” was the number one query.

Enthusiastic callers either did not know or did not care that poll officers were not supposed to offer suggestions to voters.

Some callers even ruminated on why they were confused.

“Sir, indino Guruji ka swasthya theek nahin chal raha hai. Ho sakta hai woh aakhri baar chunaw lad rahein hon. Aise me unhi ko vote dalna chahiye kya? (Sir, Guruji is not keeping well these days. Maybe it’s his last election. Keeping this in mind, should I vote for him)?” one asked.

Another said: “Babulalji ko dein? Wo bhi theek neta hain. (Will I vote for Babulal? He is a good leader).”

Bhai, aapko jo neta theek lage unhi ko vote dein (Please vote for whoever you feel is right),” came the standard response from the control room.

A persistent man said: “Kuchh to hint dijiyega na badi uljhan mein hain humlog,”(Please give some hint, we are confused).”

The control room official trotted out the useful phrase. “Aap kripya apni aatma ki aawaz sunein (Please listen to your inner voice),” he said, before disconnecting the phone.

Most voters across Jharkhand’s Dumka, Godda, Rajmahal and Dhanbad seemed to have done so.

Unlike Mumbai, where polling percentage stayed well below 30 per cent, brisk polling was reported from all four Jharkhand seats, with Rajmahal recording a turnout of 66 per cent, Dumka and Godda 64 per cent, followed by Dhanbad 60 per cent.