Naxal areas register 80 pc polling in Udupi district

Polling held under tight police security

Naxal areas register 80 pc polling in Udupi district

Polling being held amidst tight security at Someshwarapete polling booth in Nadpalu Gram Panchayat on Saturday.

It seems as though people in the Naxal infested area have finally come out of the threat from Naxals and have responded optimistically to the bullet menace through the ballot papers. The Naxal infested areas recorded approximate 80 per cent polling in the first phase of Gram Panchayat polls held in Udupi and Karkala Taluk on Saturday.

Last year, on the previous day of Lok Sabha elections, Naxals had killed Bhoja Shetty and Suresh Shetty in Someshwara pete. The next day, voters did not fear for the bullets of Naxals and exercised their ballot in large number. Even during the GP polls, people were enthusiastic to exercise their franchise.

The percentage of polling in Naxal infested areas went up than the expectations. People came out and involved enthusiastically in the process of democracy irrespective of their age. Deep in the forest amidst tight security, voters were seen standing in queue to exercise their franchise to choose candidates, who will bring development to their area. Nadpalu is one of the big Gram Panchayats, comprising almost all hyper sensitive polling booths. Polling station at Government Higher Primary School at Nadpalu-2 Gram Panchayat area recorded approximate 32 per cent of polling at around 11 am. Zilla Panchayat Higher Secondary School polling booth in Somashewara Pete registered 42 per cent polling at 11.35 am. Total numbers of candidates are 6 for a total number of 1,091 voters.

Speaking to media persons, voter Ranganath Poojary Kasanamakki said that voting was peaceful. “Security is tight and people are not having any sort of fear. We need a suitable candidate who can provide us basic infrastructure. The candidate should be able to handle the existing problems over here especially Naxal menace. Police personnel are very co-operative,” he added.

“The Government has failed to provide basic facilities to the people that resulted in rise in Naxal activities,” said Mohan Baktha.

Nellikatte Higher Primary School polling station recorded 66 per cent polling at 12.30 pm. Polling station at Gram Panchayat Higher Primary School Melamatta, Kabbinale in Mudradi Gram Panchayat registered 63 per cent of polling at 1 pm. There were 563 voters and about 356 voters had turned out by that time.

An old man in his 70s in Kabbinale area strongly expressed his dissent over the political leaders and said that he would not vote for those who lack real concern for the poor. “They don’t offer us any financial support to build houses. Why should we vote them?” he questioned. There were as many as 12 police in each polling station in the Naxal affected areas. Of which 9 were from Tamil Nadu Special Force and 3 are civil police including one SI.

‘Travel 25 km to vote’

Peethabailu and Thengamaru are situated seven kilometres away from Kabbinale. However, they can not exercise their franchise in Kabbinale. They belong to Nadpalu Gram Panchayat. As a result, they have to travel 25 kms to reach the polling booth.  Udupi and Karkala taluks recorded 65 per cent polling. About 61 GPs went for polling in Udupi and 29 in Karkala.  As many as 2,300 candidates are in fray in Udupi Taluk and 1,026 candidates in Karkala taluk.

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