Residents of remote area unlikely to vote in HP polls

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Shimla, Nov 22 (UNI) Over 400-odd people in a remote area of Kangra district are unlikely to cast their votes in these assembly elections as the nearest polling station is about 72 km away from their panchayat.

Residents of Bara Bhangal panchayat in Baijnath assembly constituency of the district would have to cross the Tamsar Pass at about 16,000 feet or alternatively undertake a 300 km long bus journey from Holi in Chamba to reach Bir, the nearest polling station.

However, with the second phase of elections, to be held in the midst of winters, the villagers are not keen to travel long distances to cast their votes.

''Unless a polling station is set up in the Bara Bhangal panchayat, there is no likelihood of anyone going out and vote in the assembly elections,'' 23-year old woman pradhan Kanchana Devi was quoted by the local media as saying.

She said the panchayat would write to the Election Commission to set up a polling booth in the area and allow the villagers to exercise their right to franchise.

But this is not the only problem of the panchayat. Majority of the villagers do not have voter identity cards, which the villagers allege, were not prepared by the officials concerned despite several representations.

Kangra Deputy Commissioner Ashwant Kapoor, however, says that the administration would do whatever possible to ensure that the villagers were not denied an opportunity to cast their votes.

The first phase of assembly elections in three assembly constituencies of Kinnuar, Lahaul Spiti and Bharmaur in Himachal Pradesh were held on November 14, while polling for the second phase for the remaining 65 constituencies would be held on December 19.


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