Family in remote Himalayas gets own polling station for Indian election

By Sharafat Ali

WARSHI, India (Reuters) - Five people from one family in a remote Himalayan village voted in India's election in their own polling station on Monday after officials travelled for seven hours and borrowed a power connection from the military to enable them to cast their ballots.

Officials collected the voting equipment on Sunday from Leh, capital city of the Himalayan federal territory of Ladakh, and boarded a bus, for the 180-km (110-mile) trip to Warshi - where the only voters were Rinchen, 23, her parents, and grandparents.

Located about 20 km (12 miles) from Siachen Glacier, dubbed the world's highest battlefield where Indian and Pakistani troops have faced-off for four decades, Warshi is accessible by road but lacks amenities such as electricity, healthcare and the internet.

Polling officials turned to the military Border Roads Organisation for electricity when the generator they had carried up failed to work.

"This area is unique because the government has set up a polling station for only one house," election officer Phonchok Stobdan said.

It is the dearth of infrastructure that Rinchen, a first time voter, is hoping her vote will help change.

"It is a mixed feeling of excitement and responsibility. I would request the incoming government to solve the problems we have here," she said.

For her grandparents - Lozbang Sherab, 75, and Pustong Lamo, 85 - it was still hard to reach the polling station even though it was next door to their home.

Sherab carried his wife out of their house and down the stairs on his back before helping her into a wheelchair.

As Lamo emerged from casting her vote, she was met with applause from her family and polling personnel.

India has been holding its seven-phase elections since April 19, with voting set to conclude on June 1 and counting scheduled for June 4. The fifth phase of voting in the world's largest elections took place on Monday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a rare third straight term.

(Reporting by Sharafat Ali; Writing by Sakshi Dayal; Editing by YP Rajesh and Alison Williams)