The Only Voter In The Region

 | Grace Higgins

India has over 800,000 polling stations when it gears up for a general election, but once they are completely unique: it only has one vote, and his name is Guru Bharatdas. A priest that takes care of a temple deep in the jungle.

Five polling officials and two policemen have to travel thousands of miles into the wild, just to meet Guru Bharatdas and take his vote, he is the only vote in the polling station of Banej in Gir which is the last area where the Asiatic lion still lives in the wild.

Deep in the jungle, you will find a Shiva temple where Bharatdas lives, in the extreme heat of 100F, it is not the easiest place to live in the world. And of course, you have to watch out for the lions. At one point it was a lively temple with over 45 people living there at a time, but once the forest authorities made it harder to live deep in the forest, the people left one by one until it was just Guru Bharatdas that remained.

The guru arrived at the temple 12 years ago and has stayed ever since it is only recently he found out his fame of being the only voter in a whole region. But no candidate has ever come to canvass votes in the jungle so he rarely knows who they are, though he always knows the contest is as usual between the BJP and the Congress party.

That being said he feels his voting rights are very important and that everyone should take the time to vote in a general election, one vote can always make the difference. He also feels honored that the authorities make the effort to come and pick up his vote. Deep in the jungle where the snakes and mosquitoes make life extremely difficult!