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regular-article-logo Sunday, 23 June 2024

Vote boycott on bridge demand: No polling in two booths of Hazaribagh over unfulfilled wish

Not a single vote was cast till 5pm at polling station number 183 (having a total number of 980 voters) and polling station number 184 (having a total number of 920 voters) in Kusumbha village at Katkamdag block of Hazaribagh, around 115km from Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 21.05.24, 12:04 PM
Administrative officials with the villagers at the polling booth in Hazaribagh on Monday.

Administrative officials with the villagers at the polling booth in Hazaribagh on Monday. Bhola Prasad

People boycotted polls in the two polling booths of the Hazaribagh Lok Sabha seat in Jharkhand on Monday because the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), a PSU under the power ministry, did not fulfil their demand of a bridge.

Not a single vote was cast till 5pm at polling station number 183 (having a total number of 980 voters) and polling station number 184 (having a total number of 920 voters) in Kusumbha village at Katkamdag block of Hazaribagh, around 115km from Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi.

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The presiding officers and polling officers at both the polling stations had also conducted mock poll and other election preparations and waited for voters at the scheduled time of 7am but the polling station wore a deserted look.

The villagers did not enter the polling station and staged a protest outside over their unfulfilled demand for a bridge near the coal sliding at Banadag which they had been demanding for several months.

Senior administrative officials, including Hazaribagh deputy commissioner Nancy Sahay and superintendent of police, Arvind Kumar Singh, reached the village and held several rounds of talks with the villagers in an effort to persuade them to take part in the voting. But eventually had to return at around 2 pm after all attempts failed.

“We tried our best to convince the villagers but they did not relent. Their demand for a bridge has nothing to do with the district administration and had to be constructed by the NTPC. In fact, NTPC officials when we contacted clarified that they are constructing an underpass but the villagers are adamant on a bridge. The NTPC officials claimed that the site where the construction work is earmarked is not technically feasible for the bridge,” said Nancy Sahay.

Jharkhand chief electoral officer K. Ravikumar confirmed the vote boycott at Hazaribagh. “There has been vote boycott at two polling stations in Hazaribagh Lok Sabha seat and despite all attempts by the district administration the villagers refused to cast their votes. There has been no reports of disturbance or other such boycott call anywhere in the three Lok Sabha seats of Hazaribagh, Koderma and Chatra which went to polls today,” said Ravikumar.

In the Hazaribagh Lok Sabha seat BJP’s Manish Jaiswal is in a close fight with the Congress’s J.P. Patel (who switched over from the BJP to the Congress just before polls and is a sitting Mandu MLA).

In Koderma CPI-ML’s Binod Singh is in a straight fight with incumbent BJP MP Annapurna Devi while in Chatra BJP’s Kalicharan Singh is pitted against Congress’s K.N. Tripathy.

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