Democracy has found a new voice among 1.5 lakh voters in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana. Residents of 40 villages around Modinagar town in Uttar Pradesh have decided to exercise Rule 49(O). They will vote but not chose a candidate.
Villagers say the pathetic condition of roads in the area have claimed the lives of countless motorists and pedestrians.
Informed by a pressure group, Youth for Equality, they have decided to use rule 49 (O) of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 to register their protest. The rule allows a valid voter not to cast his vote but record this fact in the government register.
In Haryana, residents of villages and posh HUDA sectors along the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway held a panchayat on Sunday to discuss the troubles pedestrians face while crossing the busy highway. They issued an ultimatum to the administration; fix the problem by May 2 or polls will be boycotted.
This stretch — eight kilometres from Rajiv Chowk to Kherki Daula (42nd milestone toll plaza) — has only one subway and residents want a traffic signal installed for crossover passage.
In Modinagar, “sadak nahin toh vote nahin,” (no road, no vote) is the democratic slogan doing the rounds. “Nearly 40 villages have unanimously decided to not to vote for any candidate,” said Rajkumar Verma, president Sadak Sangharsh Samiti. “Lack of connectivity is affecting our businesses, education and even relations. Nobody wants to come here.”