Peace prevails: Hill residents spend poll-day in festive mood
Darjeeling: The Queen of the Hills retained the festive mood on Thursday that one usually witnesses on any poll day in the Hills. Clear blue
skies and the mighty Kanchenjunga in the backdrop was a bonus.
There was a forecast of thunderstorms on the poll day. Accordingly, the authorities had made adequate arrangements with tarpaulin sheets to provide shelter in case of heavy rains.
However, being as unpredictable as Hill politics, the weather during the day remained bright and sunny, further lifting the spirits of voters.
For Rama Das (name changed on request) a constable from Malda with the West Bengal police, it was a dream come true. From childhood she had dreamt of visiting Darjeeling and the election was the opportunity that she had been waiting for. She had been deputed for poll duty to Darjeeling.
"In the morning when I woke up the sky was clear. A local colleague showed me Mount Kanchenjunga on our way to the booth, where I was assigned. It was a dream come true," said Das.
The local residents were in a holiday mood. Having quickly finished the household chores, many took their children for walks while others visited friends and family.
"I went and cast my vote early and then took my son to Chowrasta. The day was beautiful and relaxing. With sparse traffic today it had the feel of the Darjeeling of yesteryears," said Sujata Tamang, a housewife.
Even the tourists had a good time. "It doesn't feel like an election at all. Everything was so quiet and peaceful. The only problem was that there was scarcity of both taxis and restaurants. Most of the restaurants were closed. However, we managed and spent the day walking to a nearby tea garden. It was a great experience," said Ramesh Singh, a tourist from Patna.
It was a great experience for the first-time voters as well. "I am a first-time voter. It was a great experience for me. My booth is located at St. Teresa School in Darjeeling. It is a booth managed by an all-women polling team. It was great to see them managing the whole process so smoothly. It is all about women empowerment," stated Retika Thami, an 18-year-old student.