Conjoined twins Saba and Farah cast their votes on separate voter IDs for the first time in the last phase of the Lok Sabha elections on May 19. The twins cast their votes from Patna Sahib Lok Sabha seat where actor-politician Shatrughan Sinha is up against Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad.
During the 2015 assembly polls in Bihar, the twins, then aged 19, had to cast their votes on a single voter ID. Saba told TOI,
“We have voted as separate individuals this time. It is our right because we cannot force one another to elect same candidate.”
District Magistrate-Patna, Kumar Ravi told PTI on May 18,
“The twins cannot be denied their individuality on account of the way they are physically. They have different minds, different opinions and choices. Therefore, this time they have been issued separate voter ID cards and they will be allowed to cast their votes by turns.”
A victory for democracy!
Saba & Farah, the conjoined sisters of #Patna cast their vote as separate individuals with independent voting rights for the first time.#GotInked #GoVote #LokSabhaElections2019 #Phase7 pic.twitter.com/gTYF66jr0K
— Election Commission #DeshKaMahatyohar (@ECISVEEP) May 19, 2019
According to Ravi, they were treated as a single voter due to the elections being a secret ballot wherein no other voter is supposed to be present when a person is casting their vote.
Born into a poor family, the twins are joined at the head but were found to have distinct brains and are neurologically and psychologically fit. However, only one of them has the kidneys. According to their father, a ruler of a Gulf country had promised to bear the cost of surgically separating the sisters, however, did not go ahead after consultation at AIIMS, Delhi. American neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson had also studied the twins and warned that if separated, only one of them may survive.
In 2013, the Supreme Court directed the Bihar government to grant the twins Rs 5,000 per month and take care of their medical expenses