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Prashant Tamang, already an idol

Sikkim is leading the way to make sure that Prashant returns home triumphant.

The business community of Namchi in Sikkim is said to have donated Rs one crore (Rs 10 million) towards this end. Every town in Sikkim has set up a number of booths to vote for Prashant.

People, who are financially weak, are said to be selling assets to vote for Prashant while those who do not know how to send SMSes buy vouchers and give it to people who do.

The Himalaya Darpan newspaper, which started the campaign for Prashant, has declared it will give him a motorcycle on his return home.

Not to be outdone, Sikkim's Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has already donated a Maruti SX4 car to the boy. M K Subba, the Nepali MP from Assam, has announced that he will send SMSes worth Rs 15 lakh for Prashant.

In the SMS race, the Calcutta police is not far behind. Says Niten Pradhan, "Vouchers are sent from 48 thanas (police stations) in Kolkata as well as the headquarters of the Calcutta police. The duty is given to 10 to 12 sepoys to send these SMSes."

Gurkha personnel posted at the Indian Army's eastern headquarters in Fort William, Kolkata, are also said to be voting in large numbers.

In the picture: A rally in Darjeeling urged people to vote for Prashant. Top right: Prashant's family.

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