R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, March 23: As participation of maximum possible number of voters in an election is one of the keys to healthy democracy, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Assam, has taken up a series of steps to educate the people about the need for exercising their franchise.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, spokesman of the office of the CEO, Assam, Rahul Chandra Das said the administration is fully geared up to hold the elections to the State Assembly in three phases. “The election will be held during the Bohag (spring) season of the Assamese calendar – the season of Rongali Bihu. We have created two mascots, namely Bohag and Bohagi, to motivate the voters to come forward to exercise their right to franchise,” he said.
Das said district election officers of 50 election districts are holding workshops and awareness camps to educate the voters about their right to vote. He pointed out that some areas of the State witnessed low footfall of voters or low turnout in the past elections, and special drives have been launched in such areas to encourage people to come out to vote.
Multimedia campaigns on television, social media, radio, besides awareness drives through tableau, songs, street plays, hoardings, mascots, competitions, etc., are also being carried out to increase voter participation. An awareness drive on electronic voting machines (EVMs) is also being regularly conducted.
Focusing on college students and choosing youth ambassadors, voter awareness events consisting of quiz and debate competitions and general information dissemination are also being held.
Das revealed that the CEO office has nominated State icons like paracyclist Rakesh Banik, actor Kapil Bora, singer Aninidita Paul and cricketer Riyan Parag (who is also a first-time voter) to spread the message of maximum voter participation.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has introduced a user-friendly application called cVigil in order to empower and encourage the citizens to report on any model code of conduct violation promptly. Till March 16, over 447 model code of conduct grievances have been registered through the cVigil app.
Out of these, 247 complaints were accepted, which were thoroughly examined and disposed of. All these complaints relate to usage of poster and banners used without permission, liquor and money distribution, property defacement, religious or communal speeches or messages, vehicle or convoy, without permission, etc.
Moreover, software applications are being put to use as a part of the information communication technology (ICT) process. Mobile applications like ENCORE (Enabling Communications on Real-time Environment), Suvidha, cVigil, Matdan, Ele-Traces (Election Tracking Enabled System) are being used for swift and effective implementation of the processes that are expected to bring desirable outcomes.