“We seek only the most basic development work for our village”

A group of educated youth from Kanmoipatti Colony, a remote locality in Melavalavu panchayat in Madurai district, chose the ‘none of the above' option in the local body elections on Monday to register their protest against the neglect of their area by successive elected representatives.

Despite State Election Commissioner S. Ayyar's statement in Madurai on October 7 that those who did not wish to vote for any candidate could use Form 71 instead of 49 O, polling personnel at a booth told the youngsters that no such form had been received.

“Write down grievances”

Even while acknowledging the presence of such a form, a booth official told the youth to write down their grievances and their refusal to vote on a “plain paper,” which promised to pass on to the authorities concerned, said K. Sathish, one of the youth.

“We did not expect this at all. This has weakened our faith in the Election Commission.”

Mr. Sathish, who holds a diploma in mechanical engineering and has completed B.A. through a correspondence course said, “We only seek the most basic development work for our village. Despite requests made over 15 years, our demands remain unfulfilled.”

He alleged that some of the public places in the village had been encroached upon by VIPs.

Demands

The villagers' demands include approach roads to houses constructed for them by the government, besides a water tank and roads to the cremation ground.

V. Ashok Kumar, another graduate, said: “We do not want any grand schemes or big works. Even our basic demands have not been met. While I have voted twice in earlier local body elections, this time I decided not to vote for anyone and chose this option.”