Even as election campaign reached a crescendo in Jharkhand, residents of three tiny tribal villages at Dumka and Dhanbad have decided to boycott the ballots.
Nestled among the hills, the Amlagarhi village in Dumka district, where 20 Paharia tribal families live, are sore at the distance they have to travel to the nearest booth that is eight kms away. Not only the distance, they have to cross three hills to reach the booth.
“In the past elections too, many voters of Amalagarhi could not vote due to the crippling distance and the hills,” Paharia Syamlal Ahadi, a resident of the village, said.
The State Election Commission, however, defended the decision to set up the booth away from the village, saying the difficult hilly terrains prevented it from taking it closer. “It depends on the geographical condition and the topography,” Jharkhand’s Joint Chief Electoral Officer Ashok Sinha said.
Voters in Pokharia in the same Dumka district, however, are luckier with a booth nearby, but still are not willing to exercise their franchise for an altogether different reason - to protest against alleged indifference by politicians to their plight.