GUWAHATI, April 5 - Some 3,000 �Chandraprabhas� � woman ambassadors engaged to sensitise female voters � are creating waves among rural voters of the State, and the initiative of Assam�s Chief Electoral Officer is likely to be adopted by the Assam State Rural Livelihood Mission (ASRLM) for various women empowerment programmes post polls.
�A woman is the main person in a family. If she comes forward, other members of the family will follow suit. With this in mind, we launched this initiative to sensitise the woman voters,� Deputy Secretary (Election) Pankaj Chakraborty told The Assam Tribune.
Under the initiative christened �Aaideur Chora�, ASRLM is mobilising SHGs at its disposal to encourage electoral participation.
�A majority of the women in the villages are members of SHGs. That is why we are targeting the SHGs. The idea is to remove gender gap in polls and to sensitise rural women and identify disabled people to help them exercise their franchise,� the official said.
Around 3,000 �Chandraprabhas� have been chosen and trained so far to carry out various works as nodal persons at the grassroots level.
�They are disseminating vital information regarding electoral registration, EPIC and its alternatives, EVMs, VVPATs, helplines and accessibility for PwD voters. �Chandraprabhas� are engaged in �Aaideur Choras� in every nook and corner of the villages of Assam. More than 3,100 massive awareness campaigns with postering and distribution of leaflets on voting rights amongst prospective voters especially targeting the women to the last mile possible have been held. They are communicating in local language, delivering important messages in a relatable manner,� Chakraborty said.
Through them, electoral literacy materials consisting of forms, guidelines, rules and regulations with graphical illustrations of how to cast vote using EVMs are being distributed among female voters.
Under the initiative, polling stations with low female voter turnout are also being identified and electoral participation encouraged through �Mahila Voter Rallies�. ASHA workers, Anganwadi workers and members of SHGs are roped in at the rallies where innovative slogans are shouted and informative banners displayed. More than 2550 �Mahila Voter Rallies� have been organised where more than 1,10,880 women and 23,000 elderly people have been sensitised.
Around 11,000 PwDs have been identified by the �Chandraprabhas� till date.
Women�s help-desks operated by SHGs are also being opened at places to facilitate female voters. The help desks positioned at gaon panchayat offices, cooperative societies, etc., are helping female voters verify their names, go through electoral rolls and make corrections, if needed.