Friday, Oct 31, 2014

Vadodara pulls out all stops to achieve 100% turnout this time

Banners appear at Gangretiya village in Vadodara appealing voters to boycott polls. (Bhupendra Rana) Banners appear at Gangretiya village in Vadodara appealing voters to boycott polls. (Bhupendra Rana)
Express News Service | Vadodara | Posted: April 30, 2014 5:02 am

After an intense 15-day door-to-door campaign between April 7 and April 22, aimed at inspiring people to come out of their houses to cast vote on April 30, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is taking a shot at making maximum voting possible on Vadodara Lok Sabha constituency, even as the organisation maintains that the campaign was only in line with the Election Commission’s (EC) effort to increase voting percentage and not canvassing for any particular political party.

Nearly 1,500 people affiliate to the Hindu right-wing organisation participated in the door-to-door campaign that went on till April 22 in Vadodara, targeting around 3 lakh voters, most of them belonging to areas where voter turnout was low during the 2009 LS election. RSS sources said that the April 30 event will be the largest involving more than 3,000 people including those from the Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad and other organisations affiliated to the RSS will also participate in booth-level activities.

“Around 10 persons will be placed in each booth depending on the strength of voters at that particular booth. We will target each booth, even those based in rural areas, and will seek help of organisations affiliated to the RSS. We expect each person to come out and vote, and will inspire those who do not by approaching them at their houses and urging them to come out,” state prant adhikar of RSS, Bhargav Bhatt said.

Each booth-level volunteer will be handed over the voters’ list which he will check to track whether all persons whose names are found in the list visited the booth, failing which he will visit the homes of those left out and prod them to come out and vote. “We expect most of the people will vote by 12 noon in the afternoon to escape sweltering heat,” Bhatt said.

City BJP has come up with helpline numbers to assist voters with addresses and situation at the booth, in order to facilitate voting. As many as 18 party workers have been engaged in handling voters helpline number across seven assembly constituencies in the Vadodara LS. “We have tried to ensure that none of the voters face any difficulty while casting their vote,” Vadodara BJP media in-charge Raju Bhavsar said.

The MS University has also decided to help first-time voters by setting up a one-day centre for free counselling. “The MSU has taken various firm steps to spread voting awareness among the students, staff as well as among the citizens. The Nutrition Counselling Centre will provide free counselling service,” an MSU official said. Several other NGOs have pitched in to encourage voters, targeting especially around 500 polling booths out of a total 1,571 booths where voting turnout was low during 2009 LS elections.

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