Tribal community members walk several kilometers to vote for development

Raja Wana, an old man with Henna-dyed beard walked 3 km with the help of a cane from Gornaar, a village without any roads, to cast his vote.

“Despite casting votes all my life, my village has seen nothing in terms of development,” he said in Aloosa block’s Malangam village. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi too being an elderly person must understand our plight.”

“I couldn’t stay home as candidates insist on voting but after elections, they disappear in thin air along with their promises of development,” Wana said.

The voters in the semi-tribal village of Malangam made a beeline near polling booths from early morning.

A 90-year-old Gujjar, Doda Bijran, who also walked several kilometres from Gornaar village to cast his vote said, “We poor have always been sidelined. Today, I voted with a hope that my children and grandchildren get better opportunities and comfort in their life.”

A bunch of other tribal voters who had walked 5 km from Maliknar village said that this would be their last vote if the authorities do not carry any development in their area.

“We have no dispensary, road or school,” 62-year-old Muhammad Shafi Taas said.

Ghulam Hassan Sayaar, 72, said he voted for the future of his children and grandchildren.

“I want our children should get better education,” he said.

For another group of tribal voters, not voting is a sin which they do not want to commit.

“Not voting will further decline the chances of development,” said Bashir Ahmad Palal.

Aloosa block witnessed the contest between seven women candidates while two sarpanch and 31 panch constituencies also went to polls for Panchayat by-polls from the block.