With low turnout in 2009 Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand being a worrying factor for the Election Commission, it has taken several steps to increase the polling percentage this time.
From discounts at hotels and restaurants to the voters showing the ink mark after casting their vote on polling days to social awareness campaign, EC officials in the state are leaving no stone unturned to increase the turnout in three-phase Lok Sabha elections for the 14 seats in Jharkhand.
Director General of the Election Commission Akshay Rout on Wednesday reviewed the steps being taken in this regard and expressed satisfaction with the progress. “The ECI DG reviewed with the officials through video conferencing and other partners associated with the awareness campaign to increase the voting percentage,” Chief Electoral Officer P K Jajoria said.
“It was between 50 per cent and 51 per cent in 2009 LS elections. Now the effort is to increase it to 75 per cent to 80 per cent,” he said. “The ECI has introduced this method (show ink-marked figure and get discounts in hotels) in previous elections at other states with success,” another senior official said.
Meanwhile, several organisations, including police, are making efforts to aware the voters about importance of their vote in a democracy. According to ECI handout on the Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation Wing (SVEEW), which began work in 2009, there should be a continuous discourse with voters, civil society groups and media. It also elaborate on the initiative of all aspects of voters’ awareness and education aimed towards improving electoral participation, building up a culture of participative democracy among the citizens.