68 pc polling in Chikmagalur

While N R Pura taluk in the district recorded highest polling with 77 per cent, Kadur taluk registered lowest of only 60 per cent turnout. Taluk-wise percentage of polling is as follows: Mudigere - 68, Tariekere - 65, Chikmagalur - 68, Koppa - 68 and Sringeri - 65.
Though sale of liquor was banned in the wake of elections, people at many places in the district were seen celebrating new year from morning itself. Boozers were seen drinking liquor in public near Vastare bus stand and other places, despite the district administration’s ban on sale of liquor. However, the election was held peacefully barring minor incidents in the district.

Villagers of Bommenahalli in Devanur constituency of Chikmagalur zilla panchayat staged a protest by boycotting election. “We were being sidelined since we live in a corner of the district. We will not exercise the franchise at any cost,” they asserted.

Residents in the village put up a banner reading “we have boycotted election”. Villagers shouted slogans against the BJP, the Congress and the JD(S). The village has about 70 houses and the population here is about 400.

About 230-250 voters in the village refused to vote for any party. “We had requested officials and people’s representatives time and again to develop infrastructure for our village. But there was no one to respond to our grievance. Hence, we have decided to boycott the polls,” the voters said.

The road between Thippagondanahalli and Bommanahalli has been damaged completely. Many families in the village live in huts without any basic facilities. Villagers Anil Kumar and Sampath Kumar accused officials and the people’s representatives of ignoring their village.

“Officials demand Rs 5,000 as bribe to avail the benefits of government housing schemes. Similarly, they demand Rs 2,000 to get a toilet under government scheme,” they alleged.
“Most of the villagers are poor and make livelihood by weaving baskets. However, it is unfortunate that we are considered as APL families in the ration card. Physically challenged and senior citizens do not get the pension, which their counterparts in cities are getting,” they added.

Villagers have to walk atleast six kilometres to catch a bus. Women and children in the village face difficulty to reach the town as there is no proper road, they alleged.

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