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Gen Y to take vote pledge

The polls, both Assembly and general, may be a year away (unless the current political crisis necessitates fresh elections), but the young people of East Singhbhum are already raring to vote.

First-time voters will take a “sweet” pledge to exercise their franchise in the Assembly and general elections, due in 2014, on Friday to mark National Voters’ Day. The youngsters, aged between 18 and 19 years, will fill up the pledge forms at 1,157 polling booths spread across the district.

The exercise is aimed at boosting the sagging voting percentage in urban areas in the 2014 Assembly and parliamentary polls.

National Voters’ Day, which is being observed since 2011, commemorates the foundation of the Election Commission of India. However, this is the first time that the East Singhbhum youths will be taking the pledge in keeping with a directive issued by V.S. Sampath, Chief Election Commissioner.

Showing the way, East Singhbhum DC Himani Pande, along with her team, on Thursday took a pledge to exercise democratic duties by reading out from a document sent by the Election Commission of India at the district collectorate.

“Orders have been issued to officials to be present at all 1,157 booths between 8am and 5pm on Friday and ensure that first-time voters fill up pledge forms to exercise their franchise, which is crucial for forming a government,” said the DC.

Officials at the booths, who will hand over electoral photo identity cards (EPICs) to the youngsters after they fill the pledge forms, will also offer them sweets and garlands.

In all, 21,780 first-time voters will be handed over EPICs on Friday. East Singhbhum has a total of 14, 51,569 voters.

This apart, a massive publicity campaign will be launched in Jamshedpur from Friday with banners and hoardings being put up at strategic locations to apprise people of the advantages of voting.