Updated: February 21, 2022 4:39:29 am
No one from Garshankar Assembly seat’s two villages — Basiala and Rasulpur — voted till polling closed at 6 pm Sunday. The villages, which have 1,117 voters, instead chose to sit on a dharna to protest closure of an unmanned railway crossing in the area for the past three years.
The crossing is at Jalandhar-Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar-Jaijon rail track near the villages.
They said that the matter was raised at every platform, including local administration, railway authorities and political leaders, but everyone ignored it. The dharna was organised at this very railway crossing.
Protesters said that residents of Basiala, Bakapur Guru, Rasulpur, Chauhra, Denowal Kalan and Dogarpur villages of this Assembly constituency, which falls under Anandpur Sahib Lok Sabha constituency, have been facing inconveniece due to the closure. Congress MP Manish Tiwari represents Anandpur Sahib Lok sabha seat.
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The administration had made all the arrangements for the voting and deployed polling staff, but the villagers did not allow any political party to set up their party booths.
Announcements were made from village religious places asking the voters to boycott the voting process. Garhshankar returning officer Arvind Kumar tried to convince the voters by visiting both villages but to no avail.
Sarpanch Hardev Singh of Basiala village said the villagers had warned the administration and political leaders that they would boycott polls if their demand was not met.
“The closure of railway crossing is causing huge inconvenience to residents of several villages in the area as they have to take a longer route to reach their destination,” said the sarpanch, adding that the village panchayats had offered to deploy a a railway guard at the crossing but even that offer was not taken up.
Village Nambardar Balbir Singh that due to the railway crossing’s closure the alternative route available was not only 2 km longer, but also a zig-zag road.
Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer Apneet Riyait said there was a call for boycott by two villages a week back.
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