Punjab polls: Patti votes, hoping for a solution to drug problem

In Patti town, there are 30,097 voters of which 21,681 reached polling stations.

Written by KAMALDEEP SINGH BRAR | Patti | Published: February 5, 2017 6:06:57 am

Polling was peaceful in Patti Assembly constituency which saw a 76% turnout with 1,43,044 of the total of 1,87,747 voters in the constituency casting their votes. In Patti town, there are 30,097 voters of which 21,681 reached polling stations. Voting percentage in Patti town remained low as compared to villages in the Assembly constituency. Local government employee Mukhtiar Singh Patti, who had launched Kafan Bol Peya outfit to fight against drug addiction after the death of his son Manjit Singh due to drug abuse last year, was on polling duty in Jhabal of Tarn Taran district. He will use paper ballot to cast the vote. “I was on polling duty today. But I will surely use my right using ballot paper. I am hopeful that the new government will fight drug addiction. These elections will be verdict of people on the drug issue. I am sure that democracy will not disappoint parents like me who lost their children to drugs,” he said.

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Tirath Ram, a juice shop owner whose both unmarried sons are addicted to drugs, also cast his vote. “I still have hope in democracy. Also, I do not have any other way to fix the responsibility for making my both sons drug addicts. People say AAP is weak in Mahja, which is true. But I have cast my vote for AAP because I am thankful to this party to make drug addiction an election issue,” said Tirath Ram.

In the street opposite to the Tirath Ram’s juice shop lives Balwant Singh, who is registered as a drug addict at local Opioid Substitution Therapy Centre, just 400 metres from his house. Balwant Singh was a first-time voter, but he didn’t cast his vote. His brother was only one to cast vote in the family of three, with father already dead and mother working as maid.

The OST centre at Patti was among the few establishments that remained open on Saturday as they cannot halt daily dose of the addicts even for a day. A total of 900 addicts are registered at OST centre, with 200 coming to vote.

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