Eye on 95% turnout, CS calls electorates to step out to vote

Poll-bound Meghalaya celebrates 13th National Voters’ Day with fervour

Chief Secretary DP Wahlang hands over a trophy to one of the winners of the 2023 Run for Sure, on Wednesday.

SHILLONG/TURA/NONGPOH, Jan 25: As poll-bound Meghalaya celebrated the 13th National Voters’ Day on Wednesday, Chief Secretary DP Wahlang beseeched people to step out of their comfort zones and actively participate in the ‘biggest festival of democracy’ on February 27.
Meghalaya, which goes to Assembly elections on February 27, celebrated National Voters’ Day on the theme ‘Vote for Sure-Nothing like Voting’.
At the programme in the state capital, where the Chief Secretary was the chief guest, he recalled that in the last general elections, a turnout of 86.65% was achieved, and emphasised that the state must achieve a threshold of at least 95% in the upcoming polls.
The programme was organised by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Meghalaya, at the premises of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Khyndai Lad.
Wahlang said that the occasion bears significance for Meghalaya as the state is going to polls this year.
Pointing out that there are 21.65 lakh voters in the state with 10.68 lakh comprising male and 10.92 lakh female voters, he also acknowledged that Meghalaya is one of the few states where female voters are more than male voters.
There are 290 voters above 100 years of age and 22,658 voters above 80 years of age, he said, adding that for the first time, there are two voters from the neutral gender and 7,400 voters who are differently-abled and 81,443 first-time voters, comprising 4% of the total number of voters.

WGH DC Swapnil Tembe felicitates the
students of Casarina Public School for their song in Tura.

The chief secretary also congratulated the Chief Electoral Office for organising and mobilizing the resources and the different events that created awareness among the voters, especially the young ones. He also lauded the efforts of the Election Commission for its initiatives.
During the day, the chief guest and other dignitaries distributed prizes among the winners of the 10 km, 5 km and 1 km wheelchair marathon held earlier in the day.
Prizes were also distributed to Best RJ Wheels of Democracy, Best performing Rangbah Shnong, Best performing Seng Samla under Roll 2 Poll Campaign – Mission Unite 2.0 and winners of various youth-centric competitions.
The chief secretary, during the day, also flagged off the Wheels of Democracy, administered the voter’s pledge, released the “I vote for sure” music video, KAP report and Super Six photo book.
The other highlights of the day included the Inclusive Drum beats of Democracy, a Saxophone performance – Notes of Democracy, Super Six ensemble performance and others.
Meanwhile, the Chief Electoral Officer, FR Kharkongor said that the special voters will get time till February 5 to decide to vote from the comfort of their homes.
The Election Commission has given time till February 5 for centenarians, octogenarians and voters with disabilities to fill up form 12D (postal ballots) and choose to decide to cast their votes from home, he said.
Garo Hills
In Garo Hills region, programmes were organised at different venues by the district administrations of different districts to celebrate the occasion. In Tura, the district headquarters of West Garo Hills, a programme was organised at the DRDA Conference Hall on the premises of the Deputy Commissioner’s office.
In his address, the Deputy Commissioner of West Garo Hills, Sawpnil Tembe, urged citizens to maintain the turnout of 80% achieved in the last elections. He urged youths from rural areas particularly to register for voting in the upcoming polls.
Tembe, who was the chief guest on the occasion, initiated the voter’s pledge during the function. Further, the message for National Voters’ Day by the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Rajiv Kumar, and a song was also screened during the function. EPICs were also distributed to the newly enrolled voters of 18-19 years. The chief guest also felicitated the best booth level officers under West Garo Hills on the occasion with certificates and mementos.
He also distributed certificates to the winners of Slogan Writing and Painting competitions.
Certificate of appreciation was also awarded to the students of Casarina Public School for their song composed on the voting rights.
In Ampati, South West Garo Hills, the occasion was celebrated in a befitting manner at MFC, near Ampati Bazar, on Wednesday.
A vibrant programme organised by the District Election Office of South West Garo Hills, was attended by district officials, higher secondary school students and locals, who witnessed live performances of District Icon and popular local artist Saldorik D Sangma, Ampati A’chik Cultural Club and Unique Crew dance group.
During the event, newly registered voters were felicitated by handing over the Epic Card.
An ECI song — “Main Bharat Hoon- Hum Bharat Ke Matdata Hain” — produced by ECI in association with Subhash Ghai Foundation, was also screened at the closing of the event.
The occasion was also observed in North Garo Hills at Mendipathar Multipurpose cooperative society hall.
Deputy Commissioner RP Marak, in his address as the chief guest, urged upon them to exercise their franchise right by participating in every election actively and fearlessly.
The day was also celebrated in South Garo Hills at DRDA Training Hall Baghmara followed by the various programmes like bike rally, voter’s day marathon etc.
During the program, the newly eligible young voters were also felicitated and handed over their EPIC.
In Ri-Bhoi, the occasion was celebrated at Science Hall Nongpoh in the presence of Deputy Commissioner-cum-District Election Officer of Ri-Bhoi, Arpit Upadhyaya, AC (Election) J Umdor, besides Returning Officers (ROs) and Assistant Returning Officers (AROs) and others.
The function was also attended by the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) besides bronze medallist in the 109 kg of the weightlifting competition of the recently concluded North East Olympic Games 2023, Donald Rymbai, and the champion of the 43rd World Arm Wrestling Championship in the 60 kg left-hand category, Margareth Pathaw.
Awards were presented to the winners of essay, drawing and painting competition, while district SVEEP Icon was felicitated and EPICs were distributed to young voters and the voter’s pledge was also initiated by the Deputy Commissioner during the function.

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