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Govt drive to push up voting figures
- Poll awareness campaign Starts in colleges

Nukkad natak (street plays), voters’ awareness raths and workshops — all these and more form the district administration’s new set of tools to increase voting percentage during the Lok Sabha elections.

The district administration has selected 20 colleges, where administrative officials and senior teachers of respective colleges would conduct awareness drives among college students, teachers and non-teaching employees.

The awareness drive was launched on Thursday at College of Commerce and B.N. College. Similar events would be conducted at Patna Science College, Arvind Mahila College, Magadh Mahila College, Patna Women’s College, Patna Medical College Hospital, NIT-Patna and other educational institutions till April 16. The Patna Sahib and Pataliputra constituencies, in Patna district, go to the polls on April 17.

An EVM awareness and signature campaign, too, is under way at important locations such as the Patna zoo, Eco Park, P&M Mall, Regent Fun Cinemas, and Patna Junction.

District magistrate (DM) N. Saravana Kumar said: “At educational institutions and important locations, voters would be shown a video, highlighting the importance of voting. Nukkad nataks would also be organised.”

Six voters’ awareness raths (vehicles) would move at the sub-division level. Atop those, artistes would stage various plays highlighting the importance of voting. On April 6, the administration would organise a cycle rally to spread awareness about elections among students and youngsters. On April 13, folk singer Sharda Sinha and TV actress Ratan Rajput will flag off a half marathon.

A week-long pulse polio campaign from April 6, too, would create awareness about elections. Volunteers would carry an ice bag with polio immunisation drops. A sticker, creating awareness about voting, will be pasted on the bag.

District public relations officer Ravi Bhushan Sahay said: “The idea behind launching such a campaign is to increase the voting percentage in the district, especially among urban voters.”

In the 2009 parliamentary elections, the voting percentage in Patna was 42 per cent against 52 per cent in the 2010 Assembly elections. But in urban areas of Patna, such as Bankipore, Digha and Kumhrar Assembly constituencies, the voting percentage was between 32 and 35.

The DM said owners of vehicles seized for election purposes would be paid 80 per cent of total charges at the time of seizure and the rest after the elections.