Show voter’s ink on your index finger, get discounts at your favourite mall or eatery. Alarmed by a low urban voter turnout in 2009, Ranchi district administration this time is going all out to tell PLUs (people like us) that it pays to vote.
On Tuesday, Ranchi deputy commissioner-cum returning officer Vinay Kumar Choubey will convene a meeting with owners of hotels, malls, food chains and cinema halls across the constituency to give possible concessions on polling day April 17 to customers who have voted on purchase of products or services.
Ranchi constituency will go for polls on April 17. Around 18 lakh voters can cast votes at 2,358 polling booths.
“We will request the entrepreneurs and business heads to give certain concessions to voters,” Choubey said. “As proof of voting, people can show their inked finger. The meeting is slated on March 25, Tuesday. The administration has launched a campaign to encourage more people to go to polling booths and cast their vote. If city entrepreneurs agree to our request, voters can avail the opportunity to get concessions on polling day.”
Asked if the administration had worked out plan on the quantum of concession, Choubey said the details would be discussed during the meeting.
In the recent past, a good number of hotels, eatery chains, malls and multiplexes has come up in the capital such as KFC, Yo China, Cafe Coffee Day, Spring City Mall, Fun City, Galaxy, Big Bazaar and Pantaloon, enjoying daily footfall in thousands. Also, eating out has increased exponentially in the past five years.
Dangling consumerist carrots before voters may be viable, as Choubey said that in the 2009 Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, the three urban Assembly constituencies of Hatia, Ranchi and Kanke within Ranchi parliamentary seat reported poor turnout.
Well-known city hotelier and owner of Kaveri Restaurant, Kush Bhatia welcomed the decision. “This idea is praiseworthy. If the administration asks us to do so we will definitely consider this proposal,” Bhatia said.
In 2009, Ranchi voter turnout was 32 per cent, Hatia 39 per cent and Kanke 43 per cent, Choubey added. “You see, the numbers are much less than half,” he added.
“We identified some 100 poll booths in urban areas where vote per cent was poor. We are writing letters to booth-level officers and other functionaries of identified booths, seeking their help to hike vote per cent,” Choubey said.
Last week, Ranchi DC also held two rounds of meetings with FJCCI to promote voter awareness.
“We were asked to start an awareness drive among our employees for voting. Secondly, the administration asked us to support street plays for awareness. We will give total support to the administration. If concessions to voters on poll day motivates people to go out and vote, why not?” said Bikash Singh, president of FJCCI, which has 2,300 members across the state, including hoteliers and mall owners.
Will sure-fire mall discounts spur you to vote?