In certain pockets of UP, polling has gone to the dogs. And the candidates have got a tiger by the tail — though they may not know it yet. Upset with at least 182 cases of dog bites within a fortnight, residents of Bidhoona block in Auraiya constituency have decided not to cast their votes until the canines are captured.
And if putting 14 stray dogs under lock and key wasn’t enough, residents of Rehman Khera in Lucknow district want an errant tiger to be caught before they turn up to vote.
The big cat, they claim, has been terrorising them for over 20 days and the forest department has been unable to address the situation.
Spotted in Rehman Khera on January 9, the tiger has begun to stretch its legs.
On Sunday, it killed a bull and a calf in Rehmatnagar village, around 3km from Rehman Khera.
“The tiger has brought our lives to a standstill,” said Madan Lal, gram pradhan of Fatehnagar village near Rehman Khera. Not only are the crops suffering, even some weddings are on hold, since people stay home all evening and rarely venture out even during the day.
“The removal of the tiger is our prime demand from ruling and future leaders,” said Shriram Rawat, a resident of Fatehnagar village.
As for the Bidhuna dogs, despite repeated complaints over the last six months, nothing was done, say the residents.
Even the Auraiya chief medical officer's CMO) request to the unicipality to capture the dogs -- following a report on the matter by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme — has not helped. “There is a strong possibility of rabies spreading in the block,” said CMO Dr Karn Singh.
And now that most of the canines have parked themselves in front of the polling centres, few of locals feel dutiful enough to vote.
“In my village, half-a-dozen people have been bitten by the dogs that roam around polling centres,” said Vipin, a resident of Bandhmau village in Bidhoona.
“We have decided not to cast our votes this time. We run the risk of getting bitten while going to vote,” said Lalji Dubey, a resident. “We can’t afford to risk our lives for elections,” added his neighbour Chote Porwal.