They were drunk. Not with the maddening intoxication of democracy but with the traditionally trusted hariya. And they were so drunk they could not vote. But they didn’t realise that their intoxication had kicked up a war of words between the political parties of Karandighi in North Dinajpur, the district that went to polls on Monday.
Most of the family members of nearly 20-25 tribal families at Bhaindarpara in Karandighi constituency failed to cast their vote in the morning. The reason: they had been making merry and drinking the whole night. The incident came to light when party workers of the area became suspicious because of to the low voter turnout from that area.
Soon, a war of words kicked off between the political parties. While the Congress and Trinamool Congress claimed that it was the handiwork of Red cadres, the CPI(M) claimed that they are the trusted voters of the party and that the Congress and Trinamool had deliberately intoxicated them just to destroy the vote bank. The intoxicated ones, however, slept in peace in the cool shade of their huts as polling continued under the blazing sun.
Confirming the incident, BDO Ananda Shankar said the two parties have raised allegations against each other. “We are looking into the matter,” he said.
Even though the poll process started off lazily in the morning, it picked up momentum during the day. The entire district seemed to be throbbing with election fever. Candidates hopped from booth to booth, election officials and police personnel zoomed up and down the roads in their patrolling vehicles, endless heads queued up outside booths even after the sunset, small feasts were organised at political camps with children making the most of it and banners and flags of many colours were seen at every nook and cranny of Raiganj, Itahar and Hemtabad.
“I have been suffering from dysentery for the last three days and can barely stand but I didn’t want miss the chance to vote,” said nonagenarian Jogomaya Chakladar in Hemtabad.