Phulbani: Conducting successful elections often comes with a price and involves sacrifices of many. A similar tale came to fore Friday when the strong resolve and determination of a polling team came to fore in Maoist infested Phulbani – where violence by the red rebels had taken one life Thursday.
According to reports, after conducting successful polls in booth no. 12 of Barahala village under Phiringia Tehsil of Kandhamal district the polling team began its journey back – a 15 kilometer trek through the jungle. However, they were soon informed of the trap that awaited them.
The red ultras had laid chopped trees to halt their progress. Their motives best left to guesses. Earlier in the day there were reports of a murder by the Maoists in the same area.
Turning back was no option. Giving up was neither. The polling party decided to hide in the jungle until help arrived. And it did, albeit about 16 hours later- given the rough terrain there.
“We lived on biscuits and water for dinner. At night, it rained. So we got drenched as well,” said the leader of the 12 member polling team Sudhanshu Sekhar Meher.
They managed to proceed only after the Special Operation Group (SOG) commandoes escorted them to a nearby CRPF camp from which they moved to report at district headquarters in Phulbani at about 11am Friday.
It may be mentioned here that a similar tale came to fore during the first phase of polls in Maoist dominated Malkangiri district as well. A 36 member team trekked a similar 15 kilometres there to get the polling be done successfully.