The scene at polling booths in Saryu region, once a CPI(Maoist) stronghold, was a different one on Thursday. Local residents were seen exercising their franchise for the first time since 1996. Earlier, no booths used to be set here due to Maoist fear.
Women wait to cast their vote at a booth in Saryu village on Thursday. (Diwakar Prasad/HT Photo)
With the Maoists having captured the region in early nineties, the district administration had to shift polling stations out of this region, thus making it impossible for local residents to cover a distance of 10 to 14 kilometres for casting votes.
It was easier for voters to stay at home in the wake of poll boycott call. The rSAryuebels also threatened to chop off fingers of those who dared to vote.
After Maoists were dethroned in 2012, the Latehar administration set up polling stations at Saryu, Ghasitola, Alakhdiha, Piri and Patratu this LS polls. Polling officials deputed to conduct elections at these booths were airdropped at Saryu by an Air Force chopper.