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Friday, July 20, 2018

Amid record turnout, the village that did not vote

Out of 2500 voters, only 150 exercised their franchise in Jhangola village of Narela constituency.

Written by Sandali Tiwari | New Delhi | Published: February 8, 2015 2:33:39 am
Angry over the absence of development work in their area, residents of Jhangola village in Narela constituency boycotted polling. (Source: Express Photo by Praveen Khanna) Angry over the absence of development work in their area, residents of Jhangola village in Narela constituency boycotted polling. (Source: Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

Angry with candidates for not showing up during campaigning and absence of any development work in their area, most residents of Jhangola village, which falls under the Narela constituency, boycotted polling on Saturday.

The village in Northwest Delhi has nearly 2,500 voters. But on Saturday, only 150 exercised their franchise. “The two polling stations in the area witnessed really low voter turnout as the villagers had already decided to boycott the elections. We tried to convince them, but few turned up,” Nikita Parmar, SDM and returning officer for the village, said.

Two CRPF units were deployed after the villagers announced their boycott of the elections.

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The only village in the constituency with over 95 per cent Sikh population, the villagers alleged not a single candidate approached them during campaigning. They attributed the “step-motherly” treatment to their being migrants from Pakistan.

The village lacks basic amenities like a proper sewerage system, cremation ground, community hall, transportation and roads. “I have spent my entire life here and only hope to see some development before I die,” 72-year-old Dalib Singh said. He has not voted in the last four Assembly elections.

“The village has no primary health centre, dispensary and school,” Panja Singh, who runs a dispensary in the village, said. “We decided not to vote for any party this time. It was high time to boycott elections. And this time, NOTA (None Of The Above) too wasn’t an option for us,” he said.

“There is only one primary school that is run by the NDMC. A government school is located at least seven km away. We do not have a bus stop. The closest is five km away, in Baktawar village. Girls feel unsafe on the deserted roads with no streetlights,” Gurvinder Singh said.
The village came up as a home for refugees who came to India from Pakistan during the Partition. The land was originally allotted to 36 Sikh families from Pakistan.

BJP’s Neeldaman Khatri won the 2013 Assembly polls from the constituency.

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