By: SATYAKAM BHARTI
Chamba: Though voting in the three tribal constituencies of Himachal Pradesh passed off peacefully with around 67% electorates exercising their franchise, electioneering in these far-flung areas did not appear to be uninfluenced by political maneuvering practiced in rest of the country. While booth capturing is something unheard of in these areas, political parties appeared to have evolved other innovative measures to suit their convenience.
While all political parties put to use all their resources in ferrying voters to their respective voting places from their winter homes outside the tribal areas, some political workers even tried to make sure voters do not reach the polling booths to case voters in favour of their opponents. In Bharbour constituency, a bridge on Himmam nala connecting Kawarsi panchayat was allegedly damaged on Tuesday evening, a day before the elections, to prevent loyalists of Bharatiya Janata Party, who were brought in from Kangra, to cast their voters. The 27-metre bridge on Lamu-Kawarsi road, 15 kilometers from Holi, had taken four years for completion and was opened for use last year.
Village pradhan Suraxa Devi claimed that people were stuck at the base of the bridge, 350 metres below, in freezing temperature as they struggled to cross the stream. She stated that people were brought back from their winter homes in Kangra district in two buses.
The police have started investigation after registering a case under Section 3 of PPD Act. The election office, however, maintained that arrangements were made on time to allow people cast their votes.