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Cast Your Vote or Vote Your Caste? Seat Reserved for Dalit Women, Entire TN Village Boycotts Local Polls

Of the 785 eligible voters, only six people – the only Dalit residents of Pitchavilai village -- voted in the polls after the panchayat president’s post was reserved for Dalit women.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:December 27, 2019, 11:34 PM IST
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Cast Your Vote or Vote Your Caste? Seat Reserved for Dalit Women, Entire TN Village Boycotts Local Polls
Image for representation.

Chennai: In a blatant display of caste bias, an entire village in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi boycotted the local civic elections held on Friday after the seat was reserved for Dalit women.

Of 785 eligible voters, just six -- the only Dalit residents of Pitchavilai village – voted in elections held for the post of panchayat president. The other 779 voters, belonging to the Nadar community, stayed away from the polls and pinned black flags outside their homes.

The four polling booths in the village were deserted and though the Taluk officer urged people from the dominant caste to vote, the appeal fell on deaf ears.

“The seat allocation wasn't fair. We are more in number but weren't allowed to put up a candidate of our choice. That is why we boycotted the election and didn't vote as a mark of protest," Madisudu Perumal, a resident, told News 18.

Ajith Kumar, another resident, echoed the sentiment. “We have 785 votes. We were not allocated a seat, that is why we did not vote. Since we were not allowed to contest for the president post, we decided not to vote. Why should we vote for them?”

Locals told News18 that some young voters from the Nadar community had no problem in casting their vote, but were stopped from going to the polling booth by community elders.

The six Dalit residents of the village declined to comment. They work in farms owned by members of the Nadar community.

Apart from the panchayat president’s post, the posts of panchayat ward member, panchayat union councillor and panchayat district councillor also went to the post in phase 1 of the local body elections on Friday.

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