The Telegraph
Thursday , March 13 , 2014
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Freebies, FB fame for democracy diehards

Cast your vote and munch on free samosas or smell ’n’ sip some coffee. Show the indelible ink on your index finger and win 10 per cent discount at your office canteen. Exercise your franchise and get 50 per cent off on your entry to Birsa Munda Park or discounts on movie tickets. Raise the toast to democracy and win a Facebook photo contest…

The list of freebies is as motivating as it is long, courtesy the Dhanbad district administration, which has teamed up with various PSUs and corporate giants to ensure large voter turnout during the imminent general elections. The drive is a part of the intensive campaign under the Election Commission’s Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP).

Apart from the administration, BCCL, Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), SAIL, Associated Cement Company, Tata Steel and Maithon Power Limited (MPL) will offer the voting perks. The decision was taken at a meeting convened by deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar on Tuesday in the presence of representatives from all six companies.

The Jharia division of Tata Steel has agreed on the samosa treat at its canteen for all democratic employees on April 17 and 24. Eastern Coalfields, on the other hand, will offer fresh and free brew. A discount of 10 per cent on food will be provided by BCCL (see box).

“On our part, we will slash ticket prices to Birsa Munda Park by half on the voting days,” Kumar said, adding that a meeting with cinema owners was on the cards to discuss ticket concessions for every responsible citizen who has cast his or her vote.

“The incentives are intended to make voting a fun affair and not just duty. We will soon launch a Facebook page for a photo contest,” the deputy commissioner further said.

The click competition, titled PVPC or proud voter photo contest, will be organised in individual and group categories. After casting their votes, people will have to click creative photographs of them and post it on the proposed FB page to participate in the contest.

A panel of judges will select three best photographs in each category. Winners will get appreciation letters and prizes in cash and kind. “Also, photographs of winners will feature on poll posters at major squares of the district. They will become celebrities,” added Kumar.

The district administration has sought the help of corporate houses further to print slogan stickers urging people to cast their votes. The companies have agreed to distribute these among employees who will paste them on their vehicles. Also, A3 posters provided by EC will be put up on company notice boards to generate awareness and employees will be made to sign pledge forms.

Do you think these freebies will inspire people to vote? Tell

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