Hundreds of sanyasis and sadhus, who have been leading ascetic lives for decades in this world famous temple town seeking spiritual solace, will participate in the democratic process of electing people’s representatives from the forthcoming LS elections. Many are keen to vote for the first time in their life.
Soon, the sanyasis and sadhus will have the Electoral Photo Identification Card (EPIC), as the designated booth-level officers have started the verification process of their applications. “Many sadhus are keen to cast their votes for the first time. We helped more than 300 sadhus, aged between 30 and 70, file their applications to get the voter ID card,” said R Mohan Sadhu, founder of Om Athma Lingeswarar Charitable Trust.
The election wing of the Tiruvannamalai Taluk office has received about 350 applications from sadhus and sanyasis to enrol their names in the electoral rolls of the Tiruvannamalai Constituency. They submitted the applications after the Election Commission of India relaxed rules to include the names of the homeless.
Officials of the election wing have commenced the verification process to ensure the availability of the sadhus, who were living under trees, ashrams and temple mandapams along the Girivalam path and Annamalaiyar Temple.
“I came here after I lost my family and relatives in the 1964 Dhanushkodi cyclone. I have been living on the offerings by people and devotees since then. I have never voted,” said Dhanakodi, a sadhu aged about 65, living near Neeruthu Lingam. He added that he wanted to vote after getting his voter ID card. Several other sadhus said it would help them while going on pilgrimage in North India as the police ask for identification.
“It will also help avail of subsidy to take up pilgrimage,” said Mohan Sadhu.