Monday, April 20, 2009

Tribal women defy Maoists' poll-boycott

18 Apr 2009, 2326 hrs IST, Satyanarayan Pattnaik, TNN

KORAPUT: The Maoist call for boycott of the polls seems to have had little impact on the tribal-dominated Rayagada district, especially on the women
voters, who have outnumbered their male counterparts in pressing the EVM button on Thursday.

Rayagada comprises Bissamkatak, Gunupur and Rayagada Assembly seats, all of which are reserved for tribal candidates. Few months before the elections, Maoists had, through posters in Chandrapur and Gudari areas of the district, had urged the people not to take part in the poll process. Only four days before the polls, police busted a Maoist camp at Chandrapur and arrested three Maoists.

Officials said defying Maoist threat of poll boycott and in the backdrop of rebel mayhem in Damajnodi of bordering Koraput district, tribal women turned up in large number to exercise their franchise in Raygada district, where on an average 64.77 per cent polling has been recorded.

According to reports, out of the total 5,66,771 voters in the district, as many as 3,65,726 people exercised their right to vote. A total of 1,84,210 women and 1,81,516 men voted."Here Maoist threats to boycott polls failed to dampen the poll spirit among the tribals, especially the women voters. The entire poll process has been peaceful with no violence being recorded," said Rayagada collector Krushna Gopal Mohapatra.

Officials said while in Gunupur 54,537 women cast their votes against the 54,985 male, in Bissamkatak it was 70,141 women against 67,091 men. In Rayagada Assembly seat, out of the total of 1, 18,972 voters, 59,440 were men and 59,532 women.

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