The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Villages score over city

Aug. 29: This village was declared among five ideal villages by the East Singhbhum district administration.

But disillusioned by dereliction of duty by the state government in providing basic amenities like roads and electricity, they decided to give a befitting reply by boycotting the by-elections to the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat that fell vacant with the murder of JMM MP Sunil Mahto.

Jab tak bijli road nahin, tab tak Hatibinda mein vote nahi (till there is no electricity and water, there will be no vote in Hatibinda) screamed a banner across Asanboni road leading to the Hatibinda village.

For the 1,300-odd voters, all JMM loyalists in the four clusters till 2004 election, the decision to stay away from polling was spontaneous.

When The Telegraph team visited the village 15 km from Jamshedpur, bumpy roads led to the Hatibinda primary school which wore a deserted look with a few police personnel and election officials waiting for the polling to conclude.

While the villagers maintained that not a single vote was cast, patrolling magistrate U.S. Prasad said one vote was recorded at the booth.

Meanwhile, it was a scene of contrasts with the city lacking signs of frenzy voting activity since morning hours while the rural areas registering spiralling queues of women and young folk exercising their franchise.

If the urban streets wore a deserted look and wide steel city roads looking wider with hardly any vehicle parked on either side and an equally less number plying, people turned up in large numbers at the Kasiabera primary school under Ghorabanda police station and Dhalbhumgarh block, braving landmines recovered just last evening.

Jarpa Sporting Club in Baguria, where extremists killed JMM MP Sunil Mahto on March 4, alone registered 57 per cent votes compared to 40 per cent in the city.

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