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Mini-India votes in second phase

They might be of different castes, but none of them want to be a Gujarati or a Tamilian. They are Keralites to the core.

india Updated: Apr 29, 2006 17:56 IST

Second phase of Kerala polls on Saturday had a unique feature when a "mini-India" comprising those from six States and almost all religions exercised franchise at two booths of Mattancherry constituency, to facilitate a new Government in the State.

But none of them wanted to be referred as a Gujarati or a Tamilian, and wanted to be a Keralite to the core.

The voters at booths 51 and 52 at Hajee Isa Hajee Moosa School, Mattanchery near here, included those from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu besides Kerala.

"We are no more Gujaratis or outsiders. For three generations, I am here and we are proud to be called as Keralites," 75-year-old Arunkumar said while leading a small folk of his family including aged women attired in traditional Gujarati dress out of the booth.

There are about 500 Gujarati families in this commercial hub of Kerala. There are about 2,000 non-Malayali voters in these two booths which saw a moderate polling till the noon.

Interestingly, the voters also represented all castes. The Gujarati community had Jains, Marwadis and Kutchis while Tamilians included Brahmins and non-Brahmins as members. Tulu Brahmins, Kudumbi and Konkanis are migrants from Goa.

Besides, the booths also had local people from Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities, giving a true national integrity.

"We have been voting regularly in all the elections and we are no way isolated from the mainstream," said Hemant Kumar after voting at booth number 51.

None of the non-Keralite communities has taken an open political stand though each of the groups had their own association like Cochin Gujarati Mahajan and Tamil Aikyavedi.

Sitting Minister VK Ibrahim Kunhu seeking another term from this constituency and CPI(M) leader MC Josephine is his nearest rival.