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Chilli queen rustles up vote flavour

Jorhat, March 23: The Titabar sub-divisional administration has involved “chilli queen” Anindita Dutta Tamuly as the district icon to ensure a better turnout and promote ethical voting by targeting women in general and the youth in particular.

Anindita holds a record in the Limca Book of Records for consuming the highest number of bhut jolokias and has been a participant in many Indian TV reality shows. She is also a titleholder in Stan Lee’s Superhumans show in the US.

Tamuly will visit areas under Titabar and Mariani Assembly seats, both parts of the Jorhat Lok Sabha constituency, where polling was below 50 per cent in the last parliamentary polls. She will be holding awareness meetings to appeal to the voters to exercise their franchise.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has represented the Titabar Assembly seat since 2001 while the Mariani seat has been represented by youth Congress legislator Rupjyoti Kurmi since 2006. Earlier, his mother, late Rupam Kurmi, a minister in the first Gogoi cabinet, had represented the seat.

Titabar sub-divisional officer (civil) Roshni A. Korati and Titabar district election officer told The Telegraph today that Tamuly has been selected as the icon for the Titabar election district to spread awareness among the people to cast their votes.

Korati said the initiative named My Vote My Right is a part of the Election Commission’s systematic voters’ educational and electoral participation programme.

“She (Anindita) is well known and popular. She could draw crowds in the proposed meetings to educate the voters about their right to vote. Being a woman, Anindita is expected to attract women and young voters,” Korati said.

The SDO said from tomorrow Anindita will be travelling in a vehicle, to be provided by the administration, across areas in Titabar and Mariani. A few government staff will accompany her. The special drive will continue till April 6, the day before the first phase of polls in Assam begins, with meetings to be held at villages, tea gardens, markets, weekly markets organised on a particular day of the week (with the day differing area wise), melas and other places where people gather.

Korati said the vehicle has been decorated with banners and posters, appealing voters to come out and vote. The vehicle has loudspeakers attached to it, which will be used in the meetings.

She said jingles prepared in Assamese by the commission would be played through a sound system attached to the vehicle. Korati said minimum information about each candidate (till date there are 10 candidates for the Jorhat parliamentary seat, with tomorrow being the last date of withdrawal) would be broadcast through audio tracks. The aim of this initiative is to provide information to the voters so that they do not come under any influence and vote for the candidate of their choice.

The SDO said she formally flagged off the special drive at the Titabar SDO (civil) office on Saturday, where Anindita was also present.

Out of the 289 polling stations in the two Assembly seats, 24 have been identified as stations where polling was below 50 per cent and there was a gender gap. The total number of voters in the two Assembly seats is 2,23,356.

Reacting to the offer, Anindita said she felt glad and honoured for being given a “big responsibility” and she will do her best to achieve the purpose.