Poll official, voter die on Karnataka’s last day of voting
VIJAYAPURA/BELAGAVI: The conclusion of polling for Karnataka on Tuesday brought with it the tragic news of two deaths across North Karnataka. In Irasanga village, near Indi in Vijayapura district, a 55-year-old woman, identified as Mahadevi M Sindhaked, collapsed while stepping out of the polling station after having cast her vote. She was rushed to a nearby hospital but did not survive the journey.
According to villagers, Mahadevi had some health issues and had only recently recovered. On Tuesday, she suffered a massive cardiac arrest and could not be revived. She is survived by her husband and three children.
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Meanwhile, in Kudligi taluk of Ballari district, Assistant teacher, AN Tippeswamy, of Govindgiri village, died of unknown health complications, en route to hospital, a source said. Deputed at polling station number 119 in Halekote village, under Koppal Lok Sabha constituency, Tippeswamy fell ill on April 22 and was replaced with another official for the elections. Tippeswamy was being taken to the district hospital from the mustering centre when he breathed his last, a source said.
Last ferry ride to island
The ongoing LS elections have stood testimony to the grit of poll officials who at some places trekked through thick forests and even moved into Naxal areas. In a similar incident, poll officials took a boat to reach an island in Karwar every time there is an election. But this year’s ferry ride could be the last one for the officials as the island is all set to get a new bridge. The island village of Aigalakurve has 150 houses and nearly 1,500 residents. The poll staff used a boat to cross the 300m wide river with EVMs and VVPATs on Monday evening. However, their efforts didn’t go to waste as the village saw 74 per cent voter turnout.
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On Tuesday, neighbours and best buddies Mehabubi Gulbarga (79) and Khajbi Mulla (74) did what they have been doing together for past five decades -- voting at the same booth. The senior citizens are residents of Garden Peth in Hubballi-Dharwad East. Mehabubi has been unwell but did not skip voting. When one votes, the other waits outside. In fact, in one election, Mehabubi waited for Khajbi till afternoon to return from a trip, before the duo set out to the booth. The women became friends after their marriage to neighbours, 55 years ago. Thus began their saga of togetherness. They both lost their husbands, and raised families, and work as helpers on construction sites for a living.
First franchise, then funeral
For Chandrakant Nayak, a retired government official from Hubballi, voting came before his mother’s funeral. The polling staff in Manjunath Nagar were surprised to see Chandrakant and wife Indira turning up early to cast their votes. It was 4am when the Nayaks got a call that his mother Vimala (89) had breathed her last. “On one side was my mother, who was no more. On the other, I was eager to cast my vote. Then my wife and I decided to first stop at the booth and then drive to Ankola,” Nayak said. When the couple reached the booth, locals informed the staff about the urgency. Security personnel took the couple inside and helped them cast their votes, and the couple left for Ankola.
Couple takes a break
This newly-wed couple reworked their honeymoon travel plans, for the bride’s vote is in Dharwad and the groom’s in Gadag. Salim and Minaz, who got married on Monday, took a short break during their reception on Tuesday so that the bride and her parents could vote. After the function, Salim went to Gadag and cast his vote. The couple also rescheduled post-wedding functions for voting, which meant putting off their travel plans. said Salim. “We were determined to vote and organised our functions accordingly. Our guests were understanding. When poll officials heard that we are coming from the marriage hall, they ensured that we got preference,” Salim said.
Ambulance to the booth
On Tuesday, voters lined up at the Buddha Rakshita school in Dharwad, witnessed an ambulance pull up to the school during polling hours. However, instead of a patient being loaded into the vehicle, an 87-year-old woman was escorted out in a wheelchair, straight into the polling booth. Krishnamma Shetty is the voter who emerged from the ambulance and ensured that she cast her vote in the Lok Sabha polls. Bed ridden for a while due to age-related health issues, she had long decided that nothing would come in the way of her exercising her franchise