The Telegraph
Saturday , April 5 , 2014
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Trader outfit rolls out vote plea

Unhappy with the low polling turnout in Ranchi constituency in the 2009 Lok Sabha election, capital businessmen have decided to encourage people to exercise their franchise.

On Friday, a group of around 70 traders, under the banner of Federation of Jharkhand Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI), launched their mass voter awareness campaign in the heart of the city at Albert Ekka Chowk.

They put up posters, distributed pamphlets and pasted stickers on vehicles, asking voters to exercise their franchise to make democracy a success.

Led by FJCCI senior vice-presidents Ratan Modi and Vinay Agrawal, businessmen pasted stickers on two-wheelers and four-wheelers parked near the chowk and distributed pamphlets among passers-by.

This apart, the traders’ body rolled out an awareness vehicle for urban voters with persuasive messages for them to cast their votes on April 17. A similar vehicle will also chug into the rural areas within a day or two.

Ranchi DC, Vinay Kumar Choubey, who also happens to be district electoral officer, was also present on the occasion to express his solidarity with traders.

“Such awareness campaigns are the need of the hour. Though Ranchi is an elite constituency with 77.17 per cent literacy rate, only 37 per cent of capital voters had exercised their franchise during last Lok Sabha election. I hope this drive hikes the voting percentage drastically this time. Across the geographical area of Ranchi district with 18 lakh voters, we have Ranchi, Khunti and Lohardaga Lok Sabha seats. While Lohardaga goes to vote on April 10, Ranchi and Khunti parliamentary constituencies will do so on April 17,” said Choubey.

FJCCI vice-president Modi said awareness campaigns would be carried out in different parts of Ranchi from 9am to 9pm till April 17. As many as 150 FJCCI members have been roped in to make the campaign successful. The campaigners have printed as many as 2,000 posters, 20,000 pamphlets and 5,000 stickers to sustain the 14-day drive.

Residents responded positively, with some requesting campaigners to paste stickers on their vehicles. Some gave interesting reasons, too. “I asked FJCCI campaigners to paste a sticker on my bike before a political party worker could put a symbol. I don’t want to disclose my political ideology.” said trader Raju Chourasia.