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There’s a little bit of Nepal in UP elections

Many To Cross Border To Vote In Bahraich, Shravasti
Bholenath is a small-time businessman from Bahraich. He has come to Nepalgunj across the Rupaidiha border to bring back his wife Leela, so that she could vote on February 27 in Bahraich Sadar constituency .She is a Nepalese citizen, but also a voter in India after her marriage to Bholenath seven years ago. As the bordering constituencies of Nanpara and Balha of Bahraich district are about to vote, the buzz is quite palpable in Nepalgunj, a big business centre of Ne pal’s Banke district. If you think only a citizen of India can vote in UP elections, visit Rupaidiha, 40km from Bah raich, and cross the border. On Thursday , it was an open secret here that hundreds ­ a large number of them citizens of Nepal–will go across in the next two days­before the boundary is sealed–to cast their votes on February 27.If Nepal’s Leela is married in India, there are hundreds of girls in Rupaidiha and other bordering areas of Bahraich and Shravasti ­ like Prameela–who have been married in Nepalese families across the fence.

Prameela is now a citizen of Nepal on the basis of `Vaivahik Angikrit Nagrikta’ (acquired citizenship), but her name still exists in the Pariwar register of her village. And so does her identity card prepared by the Election Commission of India. She, too, will use it to cast her vote in Nanpara. “Hundreds of people will go across the border on Friday itself, so that they could vote on Monday . The number includes those who are citizens of Nepal and also the ones who are working here in various business establishments. The social ties between the people of the two sides are centuries old and then there is an open border between the two countries. So, it’s very difficult to monitor,“ says Krishna Adhikari, a senior journalist in Nepalgunj. His information comes with a request: “Please don’t identify them by asking for their voters’ identity card. There are hundreds of people doing it, so why identify one of them. It’s nothing like dual citizenship.They just have identity cards of the two countries to take benefits from both the sides.“ While there is a checkpoint between Nepalgunj and India, the porous Nepal border spread over seven UP districts is virtually open with SSB personnel keeping an eye on the movements. Take Chandu Khan, for example, crossing the border near Sirsiya in Shravasti to meet his brother, settled across in Badi Suia village of Nepal. His brother, Tariq, too is a voter in Sirsiya block of Shravasti.

 

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