Long trek for lone voter
Poll officers haven't forgotten the last general elections at the Kakkayam KSEB estate booth in Kerala's Kozhikode district. After an agonising wait till 3 pm, poll officials declared 100 per cent voting. For that was when Charangad Dasan, the lone voter here, had obliged to vote.
Now election officials are squirming at the thought of having to go through it again. Dasan is the custodian of a cardamom estate that's bang in the middle of a forest. The estate closed long ago and the other workers were relocated, but Dasan stayed back.
For the elections, the EC has deputed a poll officer, an assistant, a security guard, a vehicle to carry the ballot box and other poll paraphernalia - all for Dasan. After all, rules are rules and every voter counts.
"We tried our best to convince him to relocate before the polls," a district revenue official said. But Dasan is almost basking in his VIP status. He has the entire poll machinery working for him and he won't give up this rank for anything.
District officials say there's more to Dasan's rigid stance. The estate, which Dasan religiously guards all these days, is caught in litigation with the forest department. If Dasan moves out, the estate owner will lose his claim and the forest department will move in. So the estate owner is forcing Dasan to stay back, they claim.