In a bid to familiarise women with electronic voting machines and voter-verified paper audit trail (EVM/VVPAT), the Hailakandi district administration, headed by Keerthi Jalli, made a whirlwind tour crisscrossing hilly and inhospitable terrain of the district on Tuesday.
With officials in tow, the deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer Jalli trudged 5km to motivate women voters living in hilly and inaccessible terrain to dispel their fears of using EVMs and VVPATs.
“As most womenfolk do not know how to operate the voting machines, with some seeing them for the first time, they were guided through the process by election officials,” Jalli, a 2013 batch IAS officer, said.
Accompanied by SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation) cell in-charge Tridip Roy and his team Katlicherra and doctors, Jalli went door to door, visiting Khasi houses in Lalpani. Sanitary pads were also distributed at nominal cost to improve awareness of hygiene and inspire the women voters to come out in large numbers to cast their votes in the Lok Sabha elections, slated for April 18 under 1 HPC Karimganj.
Jalli took the opportunity to administer pulse polio to some children.
The district administration has taken up a slew of measures to enhance voter turnout with focus on interior and far-flung areas that recorded low percentage of polling in the last Assembly elections. Under SVEEP, a lot of activities have been taken up, like staging street plays, songs, quiz/ painting competitions, awareness campaigns, holding mock polling exercise at model polling stations, bringing out rallies, pamphlets and posters to motivate voters ahead of the elections. Jalli, who is spearheading the awareness campaign under Hailakandi, Algapur and Katlicherra constituencies, has decided to send a letter urging voters to exercise their franchise in a big way to assert their democratic right with the slogan: “I pledge to vote for it’s my democratic right.”
The Hailakandi administration is creating awareness among voters on a mission mode.
Jalli along with SVEEP team and others attended the Village Health Nutrition Day programme at Lala block for Saas Bahu Sammelan under Mission Paribar Vikash to discuss family planning, safe practices, sanitation and hygienic use of sanitary pads.
Wooing the women voters, Jalli demonstrated the usage of EVM/VVPAT to the Saas-Bahu group to prepare them for the Lok Sabha elections and ensure they all vote.
District media expert Monika Das said the women voters showed great enthusiasm and listened with rapt attention to Jalli’s impromptu address on core issues on health and hygiene and assured her of full support and cooperation in making their presence felt in the general elections.