Two daily wage workers hire auto for Rs. 400 to cast vote 8km away

In Dakshina Kannada — a district dominated by women voters — it was not surprising to see breastfeeding mothers and ajjis (elderly women) leading from the front in exercising their right to vote.

Meenakshi of Naravi village with her 45-day-old baby turned up for voting at a polling station at Naravi in Belthangady constituency in the afternoon. Her mother held the infant while Meenakshi voted. “It is our right, so we have to vote,” she said.

At a polling station at Kalladkka in Bantwal constituency, Jayanthi of Nitla village had her seven-month-old baby in hand when she voted in the forenoon. She said people did not make her stand in the queue and was given preference.

Janaki, who came to a polling station at Karaya, near Uppinangady, in Belthangady constituency with her one-year-old child, said she would prefer to vote rather than attend family programme.

At a school at Odilnala village, near Guruvayanakere, in Belthangady constituency, Honnamma, in her eighties, came to vote with her son-in-law. “He (son-in-law) brings me every time and I vote every time,” she said.

The 75-year-old Seetha Shetty from the same village also voted at the school. She had been pressing her daughter Lakshmi G. Shetty to take her to the booth from 6 a.m. but the latter advised her to stay back as she had high blood pressure. But the mother was in no mood to listen. She had to be brought for voting.

Devamma and Sundari, both daily-wage workers, voted at a polling station at Kutlur, where Maoist movements had been reported earlier. They said that they had come to vote from Nellithadkka, another village where Maoist movements had been reported, to Kutlur by hiring an autorickshaw which cost them Rs. 200 one way. Nellithadkka is about 8 km away from Kutlur.

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