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EC's awareness campaign for Garo Hills voters

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, May 1 - Spiderman has a �discreet� message for voters of Garo Hills: �with great power come great responsibilities�, but there is also the unapproved blunt message: �Don�t sell your Vote. Don�t sell your Self Respect.�

These two �interesting� messages have been circulating in the social media from this morning, apart from others for May 16 Tura Lok Sabha by-election.

Returning Officers for the polls are coming out with these innovative and up-front messages not just to ensure a peaceful, fair poll, but also to check voter enticements through money power.

�It is part of the ethical campaign. The Election Commission has been putting a lot of focus on election expenditure during elections,� Fredreick Roy Kharkongor, Chief Election Officer said about the poster campaigns.

The message from the Spiderman movie, with a subtle twist, �your vote is a great power, it comes with great responsibility� has been approved and is being issued by West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi.

Bakshi said: �the discreet message has been taken from Spiderman movie to encourage the voters to cast their ballot ethically and wisely during the polls.�

But the in-your-face message: �don�t sell your vote�� with graphic depiction of money exchanging hands is yet to be approved.

Ram Singh, South West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner said the poster is in the designing stage and awaiting approval from the Election Commission. �This poster has been leaked, but has not yet been approved,� Singh said defensively over the phone.

But election in Meghalaya, as in elections across the country, is also about money power, apart from other factors. Several NGOs have run campaign against election bribes in the country. Aamir Khan did it through his series Satyameva Jayate.

Kharkongor said, candidates are allowed to spend Rs 70 lakh during the election campaign. �There is a tendency to bribe voters, especially in the rural areas, which are prone to enticement. Till a campaign of the Election Commission is not biased towards any political party and is neutral it is okay,� he justified.

Meanwhile, it is a straight fight between Congress candidate, Dikkanchi D Shira (wife of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma) and Conrad Sangma (son of Purno Sangma) from National People�s Party - both crorepatis.

Dikkanchi has movable assets amounting to Rs 3,32,41,972. On the other hand, Conrad�s movable asset is Rs 2,27,45,128. Both the candidates have immovable assets worth a fortune.

Shira is the sitting MLA from Mahendraganj, South West Garo Hills district. Incidentally, the CM�s constituency Ampati is also from South West Garo Hills district.

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SHILLONG, May 1 - Spiderman has a �discreet� message for voters of Garo Hills: �with great power come great responsibilities�, but there is also the unapproved blunt message: �Don�t sell your Vote. Don�t sell your Self Respect.�

These two �interesting� messages have been circulating in the social media from this morning, apart from others for May 16 Tura Lok Sabha by-election.

Returning Officers for the polls are coming out with these innovative and up-front messages not just to ensure a peaceful, fair poll, but also to check voter enticements through money power.

�It is part of the ethical campaign. The Election Commission has been putting a lot of focus on election expenditure during elections,� Fredreick Roy Kharkongor, Chief Election Officer said about the poster campaigns.

The message from the Spiderman movie, with a subtle twist, �your vote is a great power, it comes with great responsibility� has been approved and is being issued by West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi.

Bakshi said: �the discreet message has been taken from Spiderman movie to encourage the voters to cast their ballot ethically and wisely during the polls.�

But the in-your-face message: �don�t sell your vote�� with graphic depiction of money exchanging hands is yet to be approved.

Ram Singh, South West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner said the poster is in the designing stage and awaiting approval from the Election Commission. �This poster has been leaked, but has not yet been approved,� Singh said defensively over the phone.

But election in Meghalaya, as in elections across the country, is also about money power, apart from other factors. Several NGOs have run campaign against election bribes in the country. Aamir Khan did it through his series Satyameva Jayate.

Kharkongor said, candidates are allowed to spend Rs 70 lakh during the election campaign. �There is a tendency to bribe voters, especially in the rural areas, which are prone to enticement. Till a campaign of the Election Commission is not biased towards any political party and is neutral it is okay,� he justified.

Meanwhile, it is a straight fight between Congress candidate, Dikkanchi D Shira (wife of Chief Minister Mukul Sangma) and Conrad Sangma (son of Purno Sangma) from National People�s Party - both crorepatis.

Dikkanchi has movable assets amounting to Rs 3,32,41,972. On the other hand, Conrad�s movable asset is Rs 2,27,45,128. Both the candidates have immovable assets worth a fortune.

Shira is the sitting MLA from Mahendraganj, South West Garo Hills district. Incidentally, the CM�s constituency Ampati is also from South West Garo Hills district.