Maha Replay: Boycott poll call given by Aagargaon villagers stirs dist office

Nagpur: Residents of Aagargaon village, in Arvi tehsil of Wardha district, had given a call to boycott the Assembly polls on Thursday. This was in protest of the death of a 16-year-old boy who was killed by a Tiger, a fortnight ago. The villagers relented only after the officials of district administration intervened and asked them to go and vote. Polling began later in the afternoon, which has resulted in a low voter turnout.

According to the authorities, a fortnight ago, a Tiger strayed into Aagargaon village, which has a population of nearly 600 people. The Tiger had strayed from the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary and mauled the 16-year-old boy. Following the incident, the villagers claimed they have been mortified. Villagers of Aagargaon and Sawali demanded that the government construct a wall around their village to prevent wild animals from straying.

With this, the villagers also demanded the administration stop load-shedding at night and take effective measures to curb wildlife menace. They had also threatened to boycott the Assembly polls if their demands were not met. In the mean time, the Sawali villagers called off their boycott, but Aagargaon residents decided to go ahead with their agitation.

The polling agents arrived at the Anganwadi of Aagargaon, at the polling booth on Sunday night with all the equipment in preparing for the polls. They set up the electronic voting machines (EVMs), VVPATs and other stationary required. On Thursday, while the officers were ready for voters to turn up, not a single villager from Aagargaon turned up at the polling booth to cast vote. Son this news reached the district headquarters. It was after 11am, the district collector Vivek Bhimanwar sent the sub-divisional officer (SDO), Harish Dharmik, who went and spoke to the villagers. He listened to their grievances and urged the villagers to exercise their democratic right.

Only after Dharmik’s successful intervention, the villagers relented and went to cast their votes. Thus, voting began in the village after 1pm and around 35 per cent turn out was recorded, till the end of the day.

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