Polling staff to walk a day for lone voter in Arunachal

Election personnel will hike through the rugged and difficult terrain of an Arunachal Pradesh district bordering China for a day to ensure that the lone voter of a polling station can exercise her franchise.

Sokela Tayang lives with her children in Malogam, around 39 kilometres from Anjaw district headquarter Hayuliang. The area falls under Hayuliang Assembly constituency.

According to sources, very few families reside in Malogam and all the voters, except 39-year-old Sokela, are registered in other polling stations.

"The polling station had two voters during the 2014 elections. Now, for some reasons, Sokela's husband Janelum Tayang has transferred his name to another polling booth under the same constituency," sources at the state Chief Electoral Officer's (CEO) office here said.

It will take a full day for the polling party -- a presiding officer, polling officers, security personnel and porters -- to reach Malogam polling station from Hayuliang on foot, Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Liken Koyu said.

"They may have to be in the booth from 7 am to 5 pm on the polling day. We don't know when she will come. One cannot be forced to cast his or her vote early," Koyu said.

The Assembly and Lok Sabha elections are being held simultaneously in Arunachal Pradesh. A total of 7.94 lakh voters, including four lakh women, are eligible to exercise their franchise on on April 11.

This time, 11 polling stations have been set up in the state exclusively for female voters.

The northeastern state has several polling stations where the number of voters is very low. One of them is Lamta polling booth under the Pakke-Kessang Assembly constituency which has only six voters.

Out of the 2,202 polling stations in the state, seven have less than 10 voters, 281 have electorates between 11 to 100, and 453 have between 101 to 200, sources said.

One booth in Naharalagun under Itanagar Assembly constituency has the highest 1,340 voters.

The state has 518 remote booths where polling parties have to reach on foot covering a distance between 30-50 kilometres which may take even three days, a source said.

With an area of 83,743 sq km, the largest in the northeastern region, Arunachal Pradesh has a population of 13.84 lakh, according to 2011 Census. 

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Polling staff to walk a day for lone voter in Arunachal

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