Of the 28 voters from Noida's Dalelpur, who had announced boycotting the Lok Sabha polls, 22 turned up at polling booths on Thursday, hoping the winning candidate would visit their village soon and bring 'vikas' (development). Dalelpur, under Dadri tehsil, is the only village in the Gautam Buddh Nagar constituency which falls across the Yamuna and towards the Haryana side, but is a part of Uttar Pradesh.
If they have to go to vote, they should either risk their lives by crossing the polluted and stench-emanating Yamuna on a boat or come all the way through Faridabad and Delhi via Kalindi Kunj, covering about 70 km to reach their polling station in Gulawali village. "Initially we were reluctant, but then this is the only means we have left to draw the attention of the political leaders," Ghanshyam Sharma, 72, told PTI.
He added, "Our only hope is that whoever wins the election, will come to our village and improve the situation for us. I don't even have a pension card or a ration card. I got my voter card today itself at the polling booth." Gurmeet Singh, engaged in farming, said he also came for voting hoping that the elected representative would bring 'vikas' (development) in his village too.
"No candidate came for campaigning to our village, but I hope the winner comes after election," he said. Singh, 35, however, claimed that the names of several residents of Dalelpur were not on the voter list.
"Only 28 names featured in the electoral list, while It should have been around 100. In my own family, there are three other members over the age of 30 whose names were not on the list," he claimed. District Magistrate and returning officer Brajesh Narain Singh said by the end of the polling Thursday, 22 of the 28 voters had exercised their rights.
"The administration had arranged for a boat to ferry the voters across the Yamuna throughout the day," Singh said. The villagers have been ruing lack of any facilities for health care, education, power connection, roads and documents like Aadhaar card, driver's licence or pension card for elderly.
Satbir Tyagi, a resident, however, told PTI that he was still "boycotting" the poll for lack of any development work since 1982 and hence did not go for voting.
(With inputs from agencies.)