Voter awareness programmes rise as Gujarat goes to polls

Virendra Pandit Gandhinagar | Updated on November 24, 2017 Published on April 29, 2014

Transgenders, elated with the Supreme Court’s recent judgment recognising them as the third gender, have come to the forefront to urge people to vote in large numbers when Gujarat goes to the polls on Wednesday. The State will elect its 26 members to the Lok Sabha, and seven to the Assembly in the by-elections.

More than 1 lakh security personnel will be deployed across Gujarat, where 21 per cent polling stations have been categorised as ‘vulnerable’ and ‘critical’. Altogether 1,40,080 bottles of 10 ml each of indelible ink will be used in the exercise, sources said.

Some business houses and industries have announced measures to encourage voters. For instance, Arvind Ltd has distributed pamphlets and put up banners exhorting its employees to exercise their franchise. Voters will also receive a small gift, a company spokesman said.

On April 23, a team of transgender artists and radio jockey Devaki, Youth Ambassador of Election Commission (EC), performed a qawwali on the theme of voting here, following an initiative by RED FM. This was part of the Election Commission’s campaign to maximise voting through voters awareness programmes. At many places in Gujarat, transgenders have been traditionally among the first to cast their vote.

The FM studio also painted a bridge here with street art and organised a week-long voters’ awareness programme. Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer Anita Karwal said radio could be the best medium to reach out to more than 45.14 lakh eligible voters included this year.

Rural feat

Ram Samdhiala, a village in Rajkot district, which has been registering 90 per cent voting, has seen voter awareness programmes for over a decade. Politicians and political parties have been unwelcome in the village, with less than 1,000 voters. Former sarpanch Hardevsinh Jadeja said a fine of ₹500 is imposed on on voters who do not exercise their franchise without valid reasons, said Hardevsinh Jadeja, former sarpanch.

In all, 4.05 crore voters, including 1.94 crore women, are eligible in Gujarat to exercise their franchise at 45,380 polling booths. For the Lok Sabha elections, 334 candidates are in the fray in 26 constituencies while 78 candidates are contesting for the seven Assembly seats.

Published on April 29, 2014
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