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Pact to improve voter count

The Election Commission and the state government’s Saksharta Mission have signed a memorandum of understanding to increase voting percentage at booths that had low turnout in the 2010 Assembly polls.

The district magistrate-cum-district election officer, Anupam Kumar, has identified 110 polling booths in the Muzaffarpur and Vaishali parliamentary constituencies on orders from the Election Commission. During the 2010 state elections, these 110 booths had fallen under Assembly segments in around 88 village panchayats. These constituencies had seen low turnout in the 2010 elections. Anupam has identified the booths to improve the polling percentage in the upcoming general elections.

The agreement for the purpose was signed on March 13.

Anupam said the identified booths would be made model booths to improve the proportion of votes. These booths fall in some of the rebel-hit villages, including Minapur, Sahebganj, Paroo, Kudhani, Bochanan, Gaighat and Katra, under the Muzaffarpur and Vaishali parliamentary seats.

Around 110 motivators have been engaged to inspire hostile and uninterested voters to exercise their franchise this time. Anupam said he had accorded the job to increase polling percentages at these booths the top priority.

He said: “Cultural activities with messages on the importance of casting votes and other recreational designs are being chalked out to appeal to the voters for exercising their franchise. Street plays and house-to-house campaigns at villages dotting the polling booths would start in a day or two to achieve the desired results.”

Schoolchildren would also be engaged for the job at hand. Anupam said boys and girls would take out rallies in villages to generate awareness about the importance of casting votes. Necessary instructions have been issued to kisan mitras, anganwadi sevikas and health workers to create consciousness about the importance of voting among the electorate in the countryside.

The Tirhut divisional commissioner, Narmadeshwar Lal, on Wednesday also flagged off a team of public relations department to convince the rural electorate about the importance of their votes.

Police officers posted in the Maoist-affected pockets in the constituencies have been asked to co-ordinate with the team members for organising street plays. The move is directed at imbibing the spirit of voting among villagers afraid to cast their ballot because of the Maoists.

Anupam said special focus would be laid on increasing percentage of votes on the eve of Bihar Divas on March 22.