The women in these two villages—Katia Kammu in Shajahanpur and Seharua in Lakhimpur-Kheri districts—have never used their right to franchise since independence, according to officials here.
Officials said the womenfolk of Katia Kammu, a Muslim-dominated village, do not come out of their houses on polling day as men did not want them to vote. “The women in the village never take off their veil and the male members of the family are not in favour of women going out of the house,” the officials said.
They said several efforts were made in the past to persuade the menfolk of the village to allow women to exercise their franchise but they did not relent. “Even in the last general elections, no women came out to vote in the village,” they added.
The story of Seharua village is almost similar. On Thursday, polling was held in the village for electing panchayat head and other members but none of the women voters cast their votes.
“We have never cast our votes. This time, a separate polling booth had been set up for women but even then none came out to vote,” said Sushma Devi, a resident of the village.
“Since we know that women will not cast their votes, we never approach them and seek their support,” said Yusuf, a candidate for the post of the village panchayat chief.
According to the officials, both the villages were educationally and economically very backward. “They lack basic facilities...there is no electricity there and also no primary school,” they added.