Though villagers of Shimla Mulana and Nizampur have decided to boycott the Panipat municipal corporation elections, they will not stop officials on election duty to carry out their work.
"Villagers will welcome the election officials on June 2 but will not cast vote. We have decided unanimously that no one will hinder the working of the officials on the election duty. We will serve officials with tea, 'lassi', snacks and food, and treat them as our guests," said Vijay Kumar, who is spearheading the campaign to retain the status of gram panchayat for the two villages located 7 km from the city. The decision to boycott stems from the "forcible" inclusion of the villages in the Panipat municipal corporation limits.
The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) has fielded Premo Devi, 52, from ward number 1, comprising the two villages and adjoining localities. Though the INLD's candidate hails from Shimla Mullana but villagers will not be swayed by this. They are firm on their stand to boycott elections.
"Today (on Friday), INLD leaders led by Digvijay Singh Chautala, grandson of the former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala, came to seek votes for the party candidate but we categorically stated our stand," Kumar said. Before Friday, no politician visited the village. Residents have not allowed anyone to put up publicity material in the villages.
Villagers claim that in spite of their repeated representations against the inclusion of villages in the corporation, the district administration has not paid heed to their demand.
They said that certain elements in the administration had given an impression that villagers would resort to violence to force electoral boycott. We would make sure that no one attempted to trouble the poll officers, villagers said, adding that it was their right to boycott elections and they would do it peacefully.