Vizianagaram villagers to boycott voting for motorable roads in interior areas

Though the district officials tried to convince the voters to utilise the vote, they reportedly refused to cast their votes until they got a clear assurance from the State government.
Villagers of Bhogarajupuram in Vizianagaram district stage a protest at the Collectorate on Sunday
Villagers of Bhogarajupuram in Vizianagaram district stage a protest at the Collectorate on SundayPhoto I Express

VIZIANAGARAM: The residents of Bhogarajapuram announced a boycott on the polling day, Monday, accusing the State government of neglecting to lay the road to their village in Dattirajeru mandal in the district. At least 205 voters refused to collect the voter slips from the local Booth Level Officers (BLOs). Though the district officials tried to convince the voters to utilise the vote, they reportedly refused to cast their votes until they got a clear assurance from the State government. Therefore, tension mounted among the polling staff whether the voters would take part in the polling or not.

Bhogarajapuram is a hamlet village in Guchhimi Gram Panchayat (GP) under Dattirajeru mandal in the district. They have been facing difficulties in reaching their mandal headquarters due to the lack of a motorable road, particularly while shifting patients to hospitals. They have also staged protests on various venues. However, it went in vain. Therefore, laying a motorable road has become an unfulfilled election promise for the past seven decades.

Interestingly, Botcha Appalanarasayya, who is the brother of Minister Botcha Satyanarayana has been representing the Gajapathinagaram assembly constituency for 10 years.

The residents staged a dharna at the collector’s office a few days ago. At this juncture, they gave representation to the district officials that they would boycott the polling if they did not get any assurance from the government. Now, they announced a boycott of polling scheduled on Monday, as they did not get any response from the district officials in the name of the Model Code of Conduct.

Speaking to TNIE, Golthi Suryanarayana of Bhogarajapuram village said, “We do not have a motorable road for the past seven decades. We are forced to walk at least 2.5 kilometers through thick bushes to reach our villages. Two people have died with snake bite in two separate incidents due to the delay in the medical help with the absence motorable road. We have met the officials and Appalanarasayya several times and explained the plight of the villagers during medical emergencies. However, nobody bothered. The political leaders are coming to our village for votes before the polling. Later, they forgot our village for the past two decades. The officials as well as the political leaders have been considering us as voting machines rather than the citizens of the country. Therefore, we decided to boycott the polling. I hope that this boycott of polling would be an eye-opener to every official and the political leader.

Speaking to TNIE, B Trinadh, Booth Level Officer (BLO), Guchhimi GP said, “There are 821 voters in Guchhimi GP including 205 voters from Bhogarajapuram hamlet villages. We have tried to distribute the voter slips to voters in the Bhogarajapuram hamlet village several times. However, they refused to take the voter slips. We have escalated the issue to our higher officials.

MV Surya Kala, Returning Officer (RO) said, “We have attended to the immediate requirement of the villagers. We have also conducted counselling for the villagers to participate in the polling. However, they did not respond.

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