For 102-year-old seer Ramanand Saraswati, casting his vote on Thursday in the first phase of Lok Sabha elections was convenient as the Election Commission for the first time opened a polling booth at Gangotri shrine in Uttarkashi, Uttarakhand.
Situated at 3,140m, there are 141 voters registered at the booth. All of them are seers, including eight women.
Earlier, the seers used to vote at the nearest polling booth in Harsil – 25km from the shrine.
“It was difficult to travel 50km a day to vote. I am very happy that the commission recognised the importance of voters who are residing in remote areas like this,” Saraswati said.
During winter, traders, shopkeepers and even locals move to lower areas. But, the seers remain confined in their huts throughout the year.
Woman seer Dharmnisth Giri, 45, was delighted to cast her vote for the first time. “I have exercised my voting right for the first time today as the polling booth has been set up here. I feel a part of the system now,” she said.
Ashish Chauhan, district election officer of Uttarkashi, said by 3pm, 54 voters exercised their franchise. “We understood it’s impossible for seers to travel several kilometres to vote. So, we set up a booth in the shrine. We want every resident of the state to participate in the elections.”
Apr 12, 2019 11:54 IST
Article source: https://www.hindustantimes.com/lok-sabha-elections/lok-sabha-elections-2019-seers-cast-their-vote-at-polling-booth-set-up-in-uttarakhand-s-gangotri-for-first-time/story-iINZwM1d2KO5SIHcItpXEO.html