Uttar Pradesh polls: An electorate on the other side of the border

With the border set to close, the people of Rupaidiha and Nepalgunj keep crossing over to the other side all day long.
 

Published: 25th February 2017 11:26 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th February 2017 11:26 PM   |  A+A-

Rupaidiha, the last town of Bahraich district sharing its border with Nepalgunj in the Banke district of Nepal.

Express News Service

RUPAIDIHA (BAHRAICH): If one talks about ‘border’ differentiating two countries, the word would be a misnomer at Rupaidiha, the last town of Bahraich district sharing its border with Nepalgunj in the Banke district of Nepal.
 
People living on the two sides of Uttar Pradesh-Nepal border are so well connected through their ties of ‘roti’ (food) and ‘beti’ (matrimony) that the man-made line is just a mirage on most of the stretch touching the seven districts of Uttar Pradesh.
 
The ties ensure that the two districts share a rare distinction of having an electorate from the other side of the border— in a number of cases, half of the family lives in Nepal who crossed over to the Indian side to vote during the polls.
 
Interestingly, local people in Rupaidiha say about 500 girls are married off to the other side every year.
 
The families are distributed between India and Nepal that in some cases the father is an Indian while the son is a Nepalese citizen. Ullahas Mal Rathi, 70, has his established business in Nepalgunj. However, he never relinquished his Indian citizenship. Whenever there is an election in India, he crosses over to this side to exercise his right. On the contrary, all his sons are citizens of Nepal and exercise the voting rights there.
 
Even as electioneering ended on Saturday in Bahraich—which will go to the polls on Monday—and the border is set to be sealed, the area was bustling with activity with those having crossed over to Nepalgunj preparing to come back along with scores already settled there. They wish to get Indian voter identification and cast their vote on this side of the border.
 
Ram Saran of Kaisarganj, enjoying fried fish on a kiosk just inside the border in Nepalgunj, had crossed over a week ago. He went to his in-laws’ place to bring back his wife Durgeshwari, a Nepalese girl. “We need to move to Rupaidiha
before the border is sealed,” said Ram Saran. He says she has voter ID cards of both the countries.
 
With the border set to close, the people of Rupaidiha and Nepalgunj keep crossing over to the other side all day long.
 
Nepalgunj residents heavily depend on the Rupaidiha market for cheaper food grains, medicines, cement and other housing material. On the other hand, those from Rupaidiha and other areas of Nanpara cross over to the other side for cheaper booze, which is available even in dhabas and kiosks. They also eye petro products available there without tax.

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