//Voter power: Lonely on top in Kerala

Voter power: Lonely on top in Kerala

BALLOT POWER: Six officials will man this booth for this VIP voter on April 29.
 Updated Monday , March 27, 2006 at 13:44

Kozhikode: He is no de facto VIP, but more than that for a bunch of government officials. At least for a day, as they will have to set up a polling booth exclusively for him to cast his vote on April 29.

He is a rustic villager, Cherangattu Dasan, who continues to be the lone voter in a polling both at Kakkayam Dam site, part of Perambra Assembly constituency in the district, which will go to polls on April 29, in the second of the three-phase elections in God’s own country.

In a bid to close down the lone booth, the Election Commission has recently sent feelers to Chernagattu Dasan to find out his willingess to exercise his franchise at another booth, 13 kms away.

But the response was not encouraging as he said, "Nothing will happen if I stay away from voting," according EC sources.

The commission cannot dictate terms as according to stipulation, the voting centre should be within 1.5 km radius of the place of residence of a voter.

The hapless officials, six, including a policeman and a driver, will have to reach the booth at the Office of the Assistant Engineer, Civil Maintenance Section I in a dense forest atop a

hillock, along with the paraphernalia on the poll eve.

They will only be able to descend the next evening as Dasan has never turned up to exercise his precious franchise before noon in the previous elections!

Hailing from Pambady in Kottayam district, Mr Dasan came to Kakkayam as an employee of Charangattu estate in 1968 and now stays in the dense forest along with his five cows.

Earlier, there were 350 voters in the booth. But others left after the estate was closed down.

According to reports Dasan’s decision was influenced by the Estate owner who was engaged in a legal battle to prevent a take-over bid by the government.