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Thousands cross the border just to use voting rights

india Updated: May 07, 2007 08:36 IST
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Khagendra has come all the way from Nepal to cast his vote on May 8 during the seventh phase of Uttar Pradesh polls.

A resident of Rupendhi district in Nepal, Khagendra is least bothered about the next government formation in the state, but he has crossed the border on the invitation of his relatives in Keutalia village, Maharajganj district.

“I am not going to cast vote illegally but my name as well as that of my family members is enrolled in the voters list here”, he said. He carries the citizenship card issued by the Nepalese government as well as the voters’ identity-card issued by the Election Commission.

Khagendra is not alone, thousands of Indians have crossed the border to cast their votes in the villages located near the Nepal border, including Kulsherwa, Chapwa, Mahuwa, Bhagwanpur and Shyamkath in Laxmipur district.

The parties — be it BJP, BSP, Congress or SP — are leaving no stone unturned to woo the voters from across the border. “Each vote is valuable in the election and we have to take care of the guests”, Samajwadi Party leader Vijendra Yadav said.

Gram Pradhan of Jugauli village in Maharajganj distric,t Dhanpati Devi, is also one of the ‘Nepalese’ voters. “We are contributing to the development of both Nepal and India,” she added.

Indians settled in Nepal are called Madheshis and have formed Madhesi Vikas Sangh. Members of this organisation settled on both side of the border. The leader of the Sangh, Chandrika Yadav, said due to the reign of terror spread by the Maoists, several Madhesis had shifted to Uttar Pradesh.

The district administration said that voters having dual citizenship — of Nepal and India — have been marked off the voter’s list. However, the election agents said that names of all the voters having double citizenship figures in the voters list.