Shimla, November 16
It was initiatives like holding Chunav Pathshala and constituting election literacy clubs that helped the Election Department in enhancing voting percentage by six per cent in 277 polling stations in the state. These stations had recorded a low voter turnout in the 2017 Assembly elections.
Voting with the help of a multi-pronged strategy gave the best results in Chamba, Bilaspur and Mandi districts where the polling percentage on an average increased by over 10 per cent.
The Election Department had launched the Mission-277 ahead of the Vidhan Sabha elections under UTSAV (Universal Transparent Election through Systemic Awareness of Voters) and SVEEP activities. “We identified 277 polling stations which had witnessed a low voter participation in the previous elections so that awareness could be created among voters to exercise their right to franchise,” said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Maneesh Garg here today.
He said that after identifying polling stations, a detailed analysis was done to find out reasons for low voting in these polling stations. “Some of the reasons that emerged were migratory population, election boycott owing to local issues, urban voter disinterest, especially among Central government employees belonging to other states,” he added. Besides, electors working in other states, adverse weather conditions, wedding season and harvesting season during the elections were few other reasons for the low voter turnout.
Garg said that the voter turnout considerably increased in the targeted 277 polling stations; 198 stations registered higher voter participation, 57 of these registered more than 10 per cent increase while 10 stations registered 20 per cent increase. Similarly, two polling stations registered more than 30 per cent increase, two other stations witnessed 40 per cent improvement while four stations recorded 50 per cent increase in voter turnout. An overall 6 per cent increase in voter turnout was registered in the 277 polling stations.
The Election Department had started an array of targeted interventions, including awareness programmes, regular meetings at various levels, personal visits of officials involved with the election process and pro-active election literacy clubs and ‘chunav’ pathshala activities.