India Politics
Sadhus turn out in large number to vote in Ayodhya
May 8, 2007 - 12:11:15 PM

Ayodhya -, May 8 - While the bells tolled in this ancient Hindu temple town, hundreds of saffron clad sadhus began their morning Tuesday on a rather unusual note - by queuing up outside polling booths to cast their vote in the last round of the Uttar Pradesh elections.

As against the average turnout of 15.8 percent, Ayodhya recorded 17 percent polling in the first few hours of the morning.

This town has been at the centre of an intense struggle over the site of the Babri Mosque, which was razed by Hindu mobs in December 1992 over claims that it was built on the birthplace of Lord Ram.

The movement for a Ram temple has been at the root of India's sharp communal divide with the demolition of the 16th century Babri mosque triggering major communal clashes across the country.

In this election too, the town, just one of Uttar Pradesh's 403 constituencies, has drawn much attention.

It is a part of Faizabad district that goes to the polls along with the eight other districts of Ambedkar Nagar, Gorakhpur, Maharajganj, Kushinagar, Deoria, Mau, Azamgarh and Ballia.

Some of the areas share the international border with Nepal and Bihar.

With as many as 17.8 million voters eligible to vote in this round across 16,804 polling stations equipped with 19,400 electronic voting machines, the final phase is regarded as the biggest poll exercise since the first phase on April 7.

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