Polling officials to trek 39 km for lone voter in Arunachal village

Itanagar, Mar 27 (PTI) A day before April 19, when polling for assembly and Lok Sabha elections will take place in Arunachal Pradesh, a team of polling officials will trek 39 km to reach remote Malogam village in Anjaw district so that the lone voter, 44-year-old woman Sokela Tayang, gets to exercise her franchise.

For Tayang, a temporary polling booth will be set up in the picturesque village close to the China border.

According to election officials, very few families reside in Malogam and all but Tayang are registered voters in other polling booths but she is not willing to shift to any other polling booth.

For Tayang to cast her vote, a polling team, including officials, security personnel and porters, will embark on the arduous journey through treacherous terrain amid unpredictable weather from Hayuliang, officials said.

Tayang is a voter of the Hayuliang assembly seat and Arunachal East Lok Sabha constituency.

"The journey from Hayuliang to Malogam takes a full day on foot," Joint Chief Electoral Officer Liken Koyu told PTI.

Everyone has the right to cast his or her vote no matter how remote the location is, Koyu said.

"The polling team might have to be in the booth from 7 am to 5 pm on the voting day as we don't know when Tayang would come to cast her vote," Koyu said.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Pawan Kumar Sain said, "It is not always numbers but to ensure that every citizen gets his or her voice heard. Sokela Tayang's vote is a testament to our commitment to inclusivity and equality." Her connection to Malogam, however, remains tethered. Her daughter and son study in colleges elsewhere.

"I hardly stay in my village... usually I come here for some work or during elections. I usually stay at Wakro in Lohit district, where I have farmlands," she said.

In the 2014 elections, the polling booth at Malogam had two voters, with the other being Tayang's estranged husband Janelum Tayang, who, however, transferred his name to another booth in the constituency.

"We have been separated for the last 15 years. I don't know where he lives at present," she said.

Tayang said she would reach her home by April 18 evening to cast her vote.

Of the total 2,226 polling stations in the state, 228 could be reached only by foot. Of these, 61 would require two-day trekking, while seven would need three-day trekking.

Nominations will be scrutinised on March 28 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is March 30.

Counting of votes for assembly polls would be held on June 2, while votes polled for Lok Sabha would be counted on June 4. PTI UPL ACD

Disclaimer: This article is published from a syndicated feed and has not been edited by the Deccan Chronicle team

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