Mahant Bharatdas Darshandas, a temple priest, has been thrown into the limelight for reasons not many will be able to fathom. He’s the privileged man solely for whom an entire polling booth is set up every year so that he can cast his vote in peace.
Gaining recognition as one of India’ most cherished voters, Darshandas waits patiently every election to exercise his voting rights. This is done in ways you will not believe.
A polling booth is set up in the middle of an isolated forest in Gir especially for this man in his mid-sixties. Assisted by policemen and accompanied by a special election team, Darshandas travels to Banej in Gir (Gujarat) polling booth. This region is home to the famed Asiatic Lions.
Darshandas has voted in several elections in the past and the fact that one man in an isolated jungle calls for India’s democracy is highly admirable. Unafraid of the lions, he walks to the polling booth and casts his precious vote, proving that even if it’s just one vote, it still counts.
As per the Indian election commission, no citizen of the country should have to travel more than 2 km ordinarily to cast his/her vote. This is the reason an election team travels over 35 km to Junagadh district so that Darshandas can cast his vote. On account of this unconventional yet efficient setup, this senior citizen is able to exercise his precious right to vote.
He is one of the very rare people who live there and care for the Shiva pilgrimage center. All sorts of animals such as peacocks, deer, and others can be found running amok the serene region.
Living in this meditative environment was Darshandas’ choice. Long back, he dropped his studies and moved here while on a religious voyage and has not looked back since. It has been decades since then but Darshandas has no regrets. Life sans electricity, a phone, or entertainment of any kind is the one he’s been living and proudly too.
Even in his solitary existence, Darshandas has got loads of style. He comes to the booth rocking a saffron sarong, wearing sunglasses and showing off his beard in a small knot. He greets the people waiting for him, casts his vote, and bids them goodbye in the same stylish fashion.
While he prefers this solitary way of life, sometimes it does get lonely out here far away from civilization and sans basic amenities and comfort facilities. But when word spread about this incredible man, he became an instant hit and several renowned journalists traveled all the way just to meet him.
Happy to be treated with such high regard, Darshandas knows he’s a special man. He fully appreciates the efforts being made to collect just a single vote from him and is content to be considered worth such importance.
States Darshandas that his vote is an important one. He reminds that the BJP Government once lost a no-confidence vote in Parliament by one vote. Thereby, even a single vote can make a colossal difference. He appreciates the fact that the authorities come every election to pick up his vote. In fact, Darshandas says he feels honored by the gesture.
It’s things like these that make this amazing country even more incredible. The nation needs to do more things such as these efforts to honor senior citizen voters for an even faster development rate. For his part, Darshandas has set an example to other voters that every single vote counts. This is just one of the many such amazing things that happen only in incredible India.