Women voters must come up with better excuses to skip a visit to the polling stations during the upcoming Assembly elections. The authorities will be leaving no stone unturned to ensure their maximum participation in the democratic exercise this time.
Although the dates for the Vidhan Sabha elections in Jharkhand are yet to be announced, the state cabinet (election) department has already decided to focus more on encouraging women and young voters to exercise their franchise.
The initiative will be a continuation of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme, which was a huge hit in the Lok Sabha polls this year, with officials claiming that they would come up with special advertisements and campaigns to target women voters.
“The women voting percentage in Jharkhand had increased remarkably in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. But our aim is to further raise the figure in the state polls,” chief electoral officer P.K. Jajoria told The Telegraph.
According to him, the female voting ratio in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls was 47 per cent, which went up by 16 per cent to touch 63 per cent in this year’s parliamentary elections.
“The percentage is definitely encouraging. However, we need to put extra efforts in maintaining the figure and taking it to above 75 per cent,” Jajoria added.
In the 2009 Assembly polls in the state, 54.53 per cent of the fair sex had voted.
As far as the male voting ratio is concerned, the Jharkhand figures were 54 per cent in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls and 64 in 2014.
Asked why additional efforts would not be taken to improve men voting percentage officials said the overall campaign would include them.
This apart, the department is also continuing the voter list revision process.
“In the Lok Sabha elections, the total voter count in Jharkhand was 2,03,11,690, which now stands at 2,07,30,437. This means that nearly four lakh new voters have been added to the list,” Jajoria said, adding that eligible voters still had time to get their names on the electoral rolls.
“The process is on and we will undertake some special drives to add the names that are still missing.”
On Monday, the chief electoral officer is scheduled to attend a meeting in New Delhi to discuss the security measures and force requirements for the Assembly polls.
“The state home department has suggested that the elections be held in five phases. It has prepared its own report on requirements and strengths that will be discussed tomorrow,” he said.