To Avoid Uttarakhand Poll Duty Wedding Claims Rise

Dehra Dun : Elections for Uttarakhand have been announced. This small hill state will be going to the hustings on Feb 15. It is not the ideal of times for polling for the weather could take a turn for the worse in the upper reaches and mercury levels could well be below the comfort zone.

In fact the Congress party had requested the Election Commission that the date for election for Uttarakhand should be round about March 15, by which time the temperatures would not be very low and it would just be about right for voting in the entire election. But in its wisdom the Commission thought of Feb 15.

Even now the Congress feels that The Election Commission should defer the date to March and if it cannot be March 15, as the schedule has been announced and the date of counting has been fixed for March 11, than it could be March 8, as the last phase of electioneering in Uttar Pradesh is also slated to be held on that day.

Cold wave and elections in Uttarakhand

Whether the Election Commission heeds to the request of the Congress party, only time will tell, but Congressmen in the state are optimistic that they have a solid case. “It is not that we want more time for campaigning, but it is a fact that the weather during mid-February when the elections have been proposed could be real dicey, which could prevent a large chunk of voters from turning out and casting their votes.

Meanwhile, expecting that they could be put on poll duty, a section of the staff has already started thinking of ways by which they could avoid the duty. Informed sources reveal that the most popular excuse is the plea that a marriage is slated in the family. Wedding cards are also being attached to the applications requesting leave from poll duty.

However, he authorities are not taking the leave applications without a pinch of salt. In fact, it is also being felt that some of the staff may have got fake wedding cards printed and attached to their applications. To ensure that only those who really have marriages in the family get to evade the poll duties the authorities here have decided to check into the legitimacy of the claims.

Official sources said that the patwaris of the region have been asked to go to the houses of the employees who have attached the wedding cards and check into the legitimacy of the claims. “If there is really a marriage in the offing the leave from duty application will be entertained otherwise not”, they added.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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