File picture of voters outside a polling booth near Tamar in Ranchi district
The general election may be months away, but the polling booths in Ranchi Lok Sabha constituency will be abuzz with people on Saturday.
Around 1.5 lakh new voters are expected to turn up at 2,053 polling stations to not only get their identity cards, but also to take the vow to cast their franchise in the approaching Lok Sabha election. The exercise, undertaken by the Election Commission of India to spread voter awareness, will be carried out and supervised by the block level officers (BLOs) of respective areas.
Sources said although all polling booths across Ranchi Lok Sabha constituency are to be covered under the initiative, thrust will be on Ranchi urban.
Out of 2,053 polling stations, 364 fall under Ranchi urban.
“We carried out summary revision of the voter list from September 1, 2013, to January 15, 2014, after which 1.5 lakh new voters were added. As they will be casting their vote for the first time, we decided to generate awareness among them and ensure that they don’t shy away from the poll process,” Ranchi sub-divisional officer Ameet Kumar said.
The BLOs of each polling area have been told to ensure that voter identity cards are distributed at respective polling booths on January 25. This apart, the new electorates will also have to take oath that they will cast their vote, Kumar added.
Six Assembly constituencies fall under Ranchi Lok Sabha constituency. They are Nos. 50, 61, 62, 63, 64 and 65, that is Ichagarh in Seraikela-Kharsawan district and Silli, Khijri, Ranchi, Hatia and Kanke in Ranchi district, respectively.
According to cabinet (election) department officials, the rural population is more enthusiastic about the election process than their urban counterparts. “We will thus insist that even if voter awareness programmes and oath-taking ceremonies remain a low-key affair in rural constituencies, it should be done properly in urban Ranchi. College-going boys and girls, who form the bulk of first-time voters, should not treat their voter identity cards as merely an important document, but should use it to fulfil their democratic responsibility,” said A.K. Rao, joint secretary, cabinet (election) department.
People, who failed to enrol themselves during the summary revision, need not worry. “Three facilitators have been appointed under each Assembly constituency. People can get in touch with them and get their names included in the list,” Kumar said.
Many new voters are upbeat.
“I understand the power of my vote. I will surely take the oath at the polling booth and also cast my franchise during the election,” promised Pradeep Kumar, a student of Marwari College.