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Folk message to Malda voters

Malda, April 8: The Election Commission has hired five groups of Gambhira folk singers to create awareness and encourage people to vote for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in Malda.

The folk singers are being utilised by the poll panel as part of its Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) strategy.

Malda district magistrate Sharad Dwivedi today inaugurated a gambhira performance in front of the collectorate. “We have chosen five groups who will perform all over the district. We are laying special stress on sending these performers to areas which have records of low voter turnout.”

Dwivedi said the main aim of the poll panel was to optimise voter turnout during the polling day.

“These five groups will perform in all 15 blocks of the district. We are spending Rs 40,000 which will be distributed among the performing groups,” he said.

Around noon today, two gambhira singers along with their group were seen performing on a stage erected in front of the district collectorate. “Na na Deri Nai Aar Nirbachan/Amra Boothe Giya Vote Diya Korbo Angshogrohon. (The elections are near. We will go to the booths to cast votes and participate),” they sang.

Ashok Chakrabarty, a law clerk in Malda court, said he and his group are not new to elections. “Gambhira is more than 500 years old and deals with religious and social issues. There are usually two singers. One young and the other old. The younger one poses questions and problems for the older singer to answer and solve,” he said.

The Election Commission has also chosen the red panda as its mascot for creating awareness of free and fair election in the Darjeeling Lok Sabha seat.

Malda votes on April 24