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Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Electors cast vote fearlessly for first time at former Maoist hotbed 'Budha Pahad' booth

Located along Jharkhand's Latehar and Garhwa districts, Budha Pahad was freed recently from the red rebels' control by security forces after over three decades.
Last Updated : 13 May 2024, 10:46 IST
Last Updated : 13 May 2024, 10:46 IST

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Jharkhand: Thirty-seven-year-old Halkan Kisan on Monday exercised his vote for the first time at his own booth at "Budha Pahad"—a former Maoist hotbed, which falls under Palamu Lok Sabha constituency.

Located along Jharkhand's Latehar and Garhwa districts, Budha Pahad was freed recently from the red rebels' control by security forces after over three decades.

Kisan cast his vote at booth no 420 in government's Upgraded middle school, Hesatu, along with hundreds of voters from different villages fearlessly.

"I have exercised my vote at my own booth for the first time in my life. Earlier, our booth used to be relocated, around 13 km from my village, due to impact of the Maoist in the locality. Very few voters used to go to vote in relocated place. Now, the area has become free from Maoist activity and people are enthusiastically exercising their votes," Kisan, a resident of Hesatu village under Bargarh block, told PTI.

Medininagar sub-divisional officer (SDO) Anurag Tiwary said that the voting at the polling station is being conducted amid deployment of heavy security. "The polling officials and security personals were air dropped on Sunday at Budha Pahad to conduct the polls," Tiwary told PTI.

A total of 771 electors are eligible to exercise their votes at the booth. By 1 pm, the booth has registered 68 per cent polling.

Vikram Yadav, 50, another voter, told PTI, "I have given my vote without any trouble. I came to the booth walking around 5 km from my village Saurat and I found no security issue even on the way as there are deployment of security forces."

Block programming officer, Bargarh, Md Hashim Ansari told PTI, "Several arrangements have been made for voters such as shed, drinking water and ambulance. Besides, vehicles have also been arranged for the elderly and physically challenged voters".

The polling was conducted at booth no 420 after the visit of Jharkhand Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) K Ravi Kumar along with senior police officers on April 20.

Kumar had then said that the voters here would exercise their franchise for the first time at their places after many decades. He gave credit to security forces for making this place terror-free.

However, excluding booth no 420, other three booths in Budha Pahad have been relocated due to security reasons, a senior official said.

Voting is being held in four Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand - Singhbhum, Lohardaga, Khunti and Palamu on Monday.

The exercise to free Budha Pahad from left-wing extremists was carried out through three special operations that were launched since the beginning of April 2022.

A total of 14 Maoists were killed, while 590 others were either apprehended or had surrendered during these operations, the officials said.

Earlier attempts to drive out the red rebels from 'Budha Pahad' did not materialise due to its difficult terrain, another police officer said.

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Published 13 May 2024, 10:46 IST

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