Lakshadweep Islands, April 2 (ANI): With the country bracing itself for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, Islanders in the smallest Union Territory of India, Lakshadweep Islands, are enthusiastic about participating in the elections beginning on April 16.
Lakshadweep Islands, a cluster of 25 isles scattered in the Arabian Sea, remains the smallest of all constituencies in the country with 44,424 electors after the latest delimitation exercise which has witnessed addition of 43 million new voters in the country.
As per the latest released Government data, Uttar Pradesh with 80 parliamentary constituencies has the highest number of electors that is 116,424,101 while Lakshadweep has only 44,424 electors.
Uttar Pradesh also possesses the largest constituency with Unnao which has 18,97,474 electors while Lakshadweep will remain the smallest constituency.
Lakshadweep is the smallest Union Territory of India. This constituency is reserved for Scheduled Tribes, covering the entire UT of Lakshadweep.
The government, on its part, is all geared up for the poll process with mandatory ID cards and polling booths.It is hoped that, like previous occasions, it will be a peaceful election, as all the parties maintain self-discipline, says the Collector of Lakshadweep Administration.
Since 1971 till 1999 the islanders sent P.M Sayeed, as the lone Member of Parliament on Indian National Congress's ticket. But, in 2004, Dr. P. Pookunhikoya of Janata Dal (United) and now Nationalist Congress Party candidate won for the first time from here.
In the present elections, all the major political parties like Congress, NCP, BJP and CPI (M) are in the fray. Their supporters are busy preparing to have a full-fledged campaign.
A tough contest between the Congress and the NCP candidates is being widely anticipated here.
Many Islanders believe that the Congress will swipe this time as late P.M. Sayeed had worked for them and this time his son Hamdulla Sayeed is contesting.
"Only congress has helped us for 37 years and no one has brought so much of development to these Islands. Yes, there is one thing, policemen checking at Kochi Port have caused trouble. We all look forward to see the congress winning here then only we Muslims can get some development", says Surekha Bevi, an elderly lady from Agatti Island.
Some people feel that the newly entered Communist Party has a chance.
"Our hope is that we can send our MP to work for the public from Communist Party and we will win this election," said R.M Ismail, a resident of Kavaratti Island and a CPI (M) supporter.
In the forthcoming general elections, the number of electors has increased by 6.4 percent, almost 43 million more, from the last Lok Sabha polls in 2004.
The total eligible voters, 71,42,87,814 will use 10.5 lakh electronic voting machines to exercise their franchise at 8.3 lakh polling stations. By Juhan Samuel (ANI)