People line up to cast their votes outside a polling station in Majuli, Assam, India. File photo. Reuters

This family is a candidate’s delight and a must on every contestant’s list to meet and seek votes. Where else would one get 66 voters at one doorstep?

The family of Ram Naresh Bhurtia in Bahraicha village in Allahabad has 82 members of which 66 are voters. The family does farming and two members are now working in private companies in Mumbai. Financially, the family is comfortably placed.

The head of the family is Ram Naresh, 98, and he proudly says that there is just one kitchen for the whole family. The family cooks about 20 kg of vegetables, 15 kg of rice and 10 kg of wheat every day and the cooking is taken care of by the women in the family.

“I am happy that not even a single member of the family has ever said that they want to live separately. I want people to take us as an example and keep the nation together too,” he said.



There are eight first-time voters in the family who will go out to vote on Monday. “They are my great grand children who are very excited about voting for the first time,” he said.

Ram Naresh said that the family usually goes out to vote after lunch because that is when the rush at polling stations is less.

“We are all registered at one polling station and even the polling officials welcome us when we go to vote,” he said.

The family, as one would think, does not hire a bus to their polling station. “The elders in the family are taken on two-wheelers while other walk down to the polling station,” he said.

They live in a thatched house with mud walls. They have been planning to build a ‘pucca’ but the high tension wires that run overhead are a major problem.

“Whenever it is election time, we request the candidates to get the high tension wires removed and they assure us but once elections are over, no one comes back. We have written several times to the electricity department but there has been no response. This time we are again asking the candidates to solve our problem and we have again got assurances. But from next time, we will vote only when our problem is solved,” said Shankar, a third-generation member of the family.

Ram Naresh added: “We have girls in the family and they need separate rooms but till these wires are removed we cannot start construction work.”

With divisions persisting within Delhi unit of Congress over alliance with Aam Aadmi Party for the Lok Sabha polls, the decision on a tie-up would be taken by party chief Rahul Gandhi in the next few days, sources said.

Three weeks after she called off the alliance with the Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samaj Party President Mayawati has launched a tirade against SP President Akhilesh Yadav by calling him anti-Muslim.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a spiritual break on Saturday as India’s acrimonious marathon election wound to a close after almost seven weeks awash with insults, violence and fake news.

Tankha resigned on Thursday night saying the Congress cannot afford a stalemate for too long and urged Gandhi to revive the Congress as "a fighting force".

From early morning, hundreds of noisy demonstrators and riot police had faced off and at times scuffled outside the assembly in Beirut, with activists also trying to block MPs' convoys.

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Nine other people were injured by the gas explosion on Monday afternoon, which took place in a mine owned by Shanxi Pingyao Fengyan Coal & Coke Group Co, according to official news agency Xinhua.

About 3,000 workers of Canadian National Railway, the country’s largest railroad operator, went on strike on Tuesday, labor union Teamsters Canada said after both parties failed to resolve contract issues.

Twenty-four Malian soldiers and 17 extremists fighters were killed in clashes in the east of the country, the army said, as security in the west African nation deteriorates further.

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