103-year-old Asgar Ali, a resident of Modhya Masaldanga enclave, will cast his vote for the first time in his life on May 5 when polling will take place in Cooch Behar.
Ali was 34 years old when India became free in 1947. He was a resident of Chitmahal that became a part of East Pakistan’s territory and later Bangladesh. After Independence the zamindars exchanged the territories with their counterparts in East Pakistan without maintaining any norms and thus 51 enclaves got included in Bangladesh.
The fate of these people who had stayed in the enclaves became uncertain and Bangladesh government refused to give them citizenship. Hence the question of getting voting right did not arise.
By amending the Indian Constitution, 51 enclaves were included in Indian territories on July 31, 2015. Now, 14,864 people reside in these enclaves. In addition to this, 922 people who are now staying in the resettlement camps have also been given the citizenship. These people used to reside in the enclaves belonging to Bangladesh that were included in the Indian territories. The EC said the number of voters in the enclaves along with the resettlement camps would be 9,776. The enclaves fall under the Mekhligunj, Sitalkuchi, Sitai, Dinhata and Toofanganj constituencies.
The EC has set up a mobile museum that is going round the area. Its purpose is to train the voters of the enclaves the nuances of voting. Awareness camps have also been set up in these areas. The EPIC cards have been distributed by the senior officials. The EC is setting up model polling stations in areas where concentration of voters are more.
A replica of a polling station has been set up to train them about how polling is conducted.
Meanwhile, the CEO office is sending a CD containing the speech delivered by Mamata Banerjee in East Midnapore criticising the role of police in the election held on April 30.
The district administration has been asked to give the CD which in turn will be sent to ECI.