Telecom mess prevents Nepalis from voting for ‘Indian Idol’

March 2nd, 2009 - 3:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, March 2 (IANS) On Sunday night, Sourabhee Debbarma from Agartala, capital of India’s Tripura state, made history by becoming the first woman to win the coveted “Indian Idol” title since its inception four years ago. She can also thank a blackout and a telecom mess in Nepal for her victory.

The 23-year-old singer had versatility, oomph and the support of the judges.

But she could also partly owe her triumph to another contributing factor: the nearly 20-hour daily blackout that has nearly isolated India’s northern neighbour Nepal from happenings in the rest of the world.

Last year, the third edition of the reality TV show that is hugely popular here was won by West Bengal cop Prashant Tamang, who received an overwhelming number of votes from Nepal due to his Nepali ancestry.

This year too, Nepalis had been initially rooting for Sourabhee’s biggest competitor, Kapil Thapa from Dehradun in India’s Uttarakhand state. His ancestors hailed from Nepal’s Baitadi district.

However, the support for Kapil began flagging in Nepal since last month when an 18-20 hour power cut daily made it impossible for Nepal to watch the “Indian Idol” show.

On Sunday, enthusiasts rigged up two large screens at two public squares in Kathmandu valley so that residents could watch the grand finale.

However, though die-hard fans came muffled in woollens to watch the outcome of the final battle till the small hours of the night, they could not send SMS votes to keep Kapil’s hat in the ring.

The prolonged blackouts have also hit Nepal’s telecom services, playing havoc with mobile phone services and making it nearly impossible to send SMSes to India.

Ironically, this was the first time that people from Nepal were allowed to directly take part in the SMS voting. But when the final deluge of votes started coming in this weekend to decide the winner from among Sourabhee, Kapil and Asansol (West Bengal) contestant Torsha Sarkar, the telecom network in Nepal was in a shambles.

The blackout coupled with the telecom breakdown made even Lord Pashupatinath helpless.

Last week, Kapil’s elder brother Keshav had paid a lightning visit to Kathmandu to offer prayers at the shrine, wishing for Kapil’s victory.

However, Nepal was generous in Sourabhee’s victory.

She made it to most Nepali newspapers and TV news Monday as India’s Shakira, who made the judges’ dream of a woman “Idol” finally come true.

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