• Monday, June 17, 2024

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India elections: Polling station set up for remote Himalayan family

Lozbang Sherab, 75, head of the family, and his ailing wife Pustong Lamo, 85, head towards the polling booth to cast their votes, in Ladakh’s remote Warshi village. (Photo: Reuters)

By: Vivek Mishra

In a remote Himalayan village, a family of five participated in India’s election at their own polling station after officials undertook a seven-hour journey and secured a power connection from the military for the occasion.

The officials embarked on a 180-kilometre trip from Leh, the capital city of Ladakh, on Sunday to reach Warshi, where Rinchen, 23, her parents, and grandparents were the only voters.

Situated approximately 20 kilometres from the Siachen Glacier, known as the world’s highest battlefield, Warshi lacks basic amenities such as electricity, healthcare, and internet access.

Polling officials sought assistance from the Indian military’s Border Roads Organisation (BRO) for electricity after the generator they brought failed to function.

“This area is unique because the government has set up a polling station for only one house,” said election officer Phonchok Stobdan.

Rinchen, a first-time voter, expressed a mix of excitement and responsibility, hoping her vote would address local issues.

“It is a mixed feeling of excitement and responsibility. I would request the incoming government to solve the problems we have here,” she said.

For her grandparents, Lozbang Sherab, 75, and Pustong Lamo, 85, reaching the polling station, despite its proximity, was challenging. Sherab carried his wife out of their house, down the stairs, and into a wheelchair.

As Lamo cast her vote, she received applause from her family and polling personnel.

India’s seven-phase elections began on April 19, with the fifth phase occurring on Monday. Narendra Modi is vying for a rare third consecutive term as prime minister.

(Reuters)

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