Lone voter in Gir forest to vote in Lok Sabha pollMarch 2nd, 2009 - 10:13 pm ICT by IANS
Ahmedabad, March 2 (IANS) A priest, who is the lone voter in Banej village deep inside the Gir forest - the home to Asiatic lions - in Gujarat, Monday said he would vote in the Lok Sabha poll.
Living in a temple in the forest, Guru Shree Bharatdasji Bapu is the only voter in the village, which comes under the Una assembly segment of the Junagadh Lok Sabha constituency. He had also voted in the 2007 Gujarat assembly poll with a booth set up at an ashram, inhabited by 30 devotees, inside the forest.
Talking to IANS over telephone from Banej, Bharatdasji said that during the assembly poll, two poll officials and an armed policeman travelled deep inside the forest to reach the booth.
“They remained in the ashram from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. even after I had voted. They said it was the rule,” he recalled.
The priest said he frequently travelled outside the forest.
“I do travel outside the forest to other regions of Gujarat. I have been coming to Ahmedabad often to meet my devotees,” he said, adding that district officials from Junagadh and Una visited his ashram at times before the polls as he was the only voter in Banej.
Banej, 29 km from Junagadh, is a pilgrimage centre for the people of Junagadh and Una and even the villagers who live inside the forest visit the temple regularly.