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Football matches, cleanliness drives to increase voters’ turnout in state


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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, April 8: The state’s election department is taking some measures to increase the turnout of voters, particularly in the Shillong constituency, in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
It will organise football matches and cleanliness drives to create awareness among people on the need to exercise franchise. Shillong has traditionally recorded a low voters’ turnout compared to Tura.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) BDR Tiwari told reporters on Monday that as community participation is the key to increase voters’ participation in the electoral process, the election department is working on an integrated turnout implementation programme in the polling stations and the constituencies.
“Since football is the most popular game here, we are reaching out to football clubs under SVEEP activities by taking the youths and democracy together,” Tiwari said.
Expressing optimism that the voting percentage will increase this time around, he said the department is also going for clean and green election. It will organise pre-poll and post-poll cleanliness drives at all polling stations.
This time, the first male and female voters will be given the opportunity to plant saplings in the polling stations. The use of plastic is being reduced to whatever extent possible.
Stating that the commissioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) will start from Wednesday, followed by the movement of polling personnel from April 17, Tiwari said minimum facilities are being arranged for the voters at each polling station.
Asked about the reports of violation of model code of conduct (MCC), he said all cases are being responded to. As of now, the MCC violation cases are almost negligible, he added.
Forty companies of central armed police force have been sanctioned for the state and the election department is keeping a close watch on the situation.
Meanwhile, an order issued by the Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) of Shella and Sohra Assembly segments for the commissioning of EVMs and VVPATs on a national holiday has not gone down well.
The order stated that the commissioning of EVMs and VVPATs will be held on April 10 and 11 from 9:30 am onwards in the conference hall of the office of the ARO. April 11 is a national holiday on account of Eid–ul–Fitr.
Some employees expressed resentment over the order. They said the sentiments of each and every community should be respected.
Reacting to this, Tiwari said those who want to take leave on that day for the religious festival can do so. He also said that the dates were chosen as there is hardly any time and there are some more holidays round the corner.
Earlier, the state government notified that all state government offices, revenue and magisterial courts, educational institutions, banks and financial institutions in East Khasi Hills district will remain closed on April 15 on account of Shad Suk Mynsiem.


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