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Nithari goes to poll sans enthusiasm
Manoj C G in Noida |
April 13, 2007 13:02 IST
No posters, no banners and no long queues outside polling booths -- this is Nithari village, infamous for the macabre killing of children and women, where elections for the Uttar Pradesh assembly took place on Friday.
An eerie silence prevailed in this non-descript village on the polling day as the usual humdrum associated with elections was missing, though brisk polling was visible in other areas of Dadri constituency during the second phase of assembly polls.
People, mainly women, trickled into the polling booth set up barely 200 metres away from the D-5 'house of horror' of businessman Moninder Singh Pandher, where about 20 children and women were sexually assaulted and brutally murdered.
Tight security was in place near the polling booth, the area which witnessed many an emotional scenes and pitched battles between angry locals and police. Leaders, prominent and local, did not turn up here during the campaign in this 'jinxed village,' which has a reputation of 'ensuring the unseating' of chief ministers whoever visited the area.
"May be because of Nithari, these leaders are not coming here," Anita, a vegetable vendor hailing from Malda in West Bengal, said.
The constituency is witnessing a four-cornered contest with the Bharatiya Janata Party fielding its sitting legislator Nawab Singh Nagar. While the Bahujan Samaj Party has nominated Satbir Singh Gujjar for the seat, Samajwadi Party has fielded Ashok Chouhan and Congress Raghuraj Singh.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi campaigned for Singh on the last day of the campaigning. There are another 11 candidates trying their luck in the constituency.
Though the enthusiasm was missing, usual complaints like voters not finding their names in the list were heard. One of the complainants was an enthusiastic Kumud Rana (60), who went to two polling booths searching her name in the list.
As the village houses a huge number of migrant workers, who have not voting rights, politicians also gave a slip to the village.
Lal, a migrant labourer, said, "I have been living here for the past five years but I have no voter identity card."
Long queues were visible outside polling stations in neighbouring Harola in Sector five of Noida. Voters were mostly women and labourers. In Indrapuram area, many voters had to wait at the polling booth for over one hour to cast their votes as the list was 'jumbled.'
Many names were also missing from the list, voters alleged.
Vimal Mishra, a resident of Shipra Sun City, said she had difficulties in finding her name in the list and it took almost an hour for her to vote after reaching the polling booth. "It took almost one hour for me to vote. Many of my neighbours returned home without casting their votes as they could not find their names in the jumbled list," she said.
Security arrangements were so tight that only voters with valid ID cards and media personnel carrying passes issued by the Election Commission were allowed inside polling stations. However, cameramen were barred from entering polling booths.