A Polling Booth ‘Inside The Lion’s Den’ For The Temple Priest

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Ahmedabad: The Election Commission has set up a polling booth inside Gujarat’s Gir forest to enable a temple priest to cast his vote.

According to Election Commission officials, the booth has been set up “right inside the lion’s den” for the 62-year-old priest, Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas. It was first set up in 2007 to help the priest exercise his democratic right.

The Gir forest is famous the world over for being home to the largest number of Asiatic lions.

“Banej polling station is unique in the entire country for having just one voter. The only resident is the temple priest who resides alone in the deep woods. True to the mandate of ECI’s maxim of ‘No Voter Shall be Left Behind’, the polling station is set up just for him and it is ensured that he is able to exercise his right to vote,” an EC official told reporters.

Despite the unconventional set-up, his single vote counts just as much as anyone else’s.

According to the Election Commission, no citizen should “ordinarily travel more than 2km to reach the booth”. Which is why a group of EC officials embarks on a bumpy journey of over 35km to reach Junagadh district where the forest is located.

At the Banej booth, the polling party seals the EVM soon after the single voter casts his vote. The priest turned up for voting early in the morning on Tuesday following which the polling party returned back to their reporting areas.

 

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