After voting, eating...

Men and women offered the ‘coupons’ that they carried, and received plates of hot, tasty biryani. Children who accompanied their parents to the polling booths too were recipients of biryani.

Besides, the families were provided with tea, coffee tender coconut water, and sweet meats for children like jalebi, ice cream and soft drinks like Pepsi and Coke.

Mass feast
That mass feast was the scene outside the five polling booths at Donabaghatta in Bhadravathi taluk on polling day. The food and eats were sponsored by the five candidates contesting taluk panchayat seat from the village.

Muslims form the major chunk of the population of Donabaghatta, a Gram Panchayat with a population of 10,000 and 7,000 voters. 95 per cent of the population is Muslim.
The five Taluk Panchayat seat hopefuls from Donabaghatta include Mohammed Khasim of JD(S), Imam Khan (Cong), Farooq (BJP) and independents Jinnah and Ahmed. Gulzar Begum of the village is the BJP candidate for the Zilla Panchayat.

People of Donabaghatta are considered as politically aware and the village registers more than 70 per cent polling in elections. On Sunday, long queues were seen before the five polling booths. But the atmosphere was not tense. The campaign was intense but peaceful.

“Food coupons are provided by the candidates of all the parties, and we accept them and use them as we don’t want to hurt the feelings of the candidates,” says Ahmed, a voter. Accepting the coupons doesn’t mean commitment to vote. Candidates even arrange vehicles for the voters to come to polling station.

Entire families visit the polling stations. “We stay here for some time and have fun,” said Sanaulla, who took the entire family to the polling station. All candidates distribute food coupons to voters, but some even give voters cash, clothes and foodgrains.

No alcohol
But the village has a strict rule about alcohol. None is allowed to distribute or accept liquor. The residents of the village even ensure that no one under the influence of alcohol enters the polling booth.

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