Monday, 30th October 2017

E- paper

Street play, quiz, skit roll in poll pleas

Assam administration holds election awareness drive

By Ali Fauz Hassan in Guwahati
  • Published 19.03.19, 12:57 AM
  • Updated 19.03.19, 12:57 AM
  • 2 mins read
Winners of the quiz contest. Picture by UB Photos

The street outside Central Mall at Christian Basti here was agog with curious bystanders. Shoppers stopped in their tracks while pedestrians wondered who the 15 odd youngsters milling around were, till they launched into their roles. The street play emanated the flavour of the season: elections!

Performed by the NGO Sishu Sarothi, it was one of street plays that will be organised in different places of the city.

Election officer Jimlee Saikia Kakati said: “We organised a skit at the Central Mall on Saturday to attract youths, especially the first-time voters, towards the election process and induce them to come out and vote.

“An inter-institutional quiz competition on Election Quotient was also held at the District Library, where top colleges of the city participated. The team from the Assam Engineering College emerged winners. The top three colleges will also participate in a state-level quiz scheduled at IIT Guwahati on March 24. Campus ambassadors in 12 colleges have been appointed to spread the message of youths’ participation in the elections.

“Apart from the youth, we are focusing on women and people with disability. An election awareness initiative called Aideo Chora — in association with the Assam State Rural Livelihoods Mission, involving leaders of women self-help groups appointed as Chandraprobha — has been started in the blocks of the district. The awareness programmes will continue till the polling day.”

Star sprinter Hima Das and national award-winning Assamese singer Tarali Sarma have been made state icons. They will be featured on posters and banners urging people to vote. A new innovation will be posters and banners for the hearing and speech-impaired. Radio partners will air messages urging people from all sections of the society to vote. Programmes in colleges over the weekend ensured that the motto “No voter to be left behind” was adhered to.

Sharma told The Telegraph, “I have been appointed state icon essentially to spread awareness about the importance of voting and urge everyone to vote, in line with the theme No Voter To Be Left Behind, especially the youth, as they are not serious about voting. I will be travelling to colleges, urging the youth to make sure their name is included in the voters’ list and to come out to vote on the day of the election. The VVPAT machine is being used for the first time and it is my job to ask people to check that their vote is cast for the right candidate”.

Since Monday, the Kamrup (metro) district administration is training presiding and polling officers, to be deployed at the 525 polling stations in the four constituencies in the district.

A total of 1,495 presiding officers and 4,485 polling officers are being trained in issues related to polling and model code of conduct at Cotton Collegiate HS School and Panbazar Girls HS School.

The training, that began on Monday, is being conducted under additional commissioners Nibedan Das Patowary and Ratul Pathak. Other officials present were additional commissioners Bidyut Bikash Bhagawati and Gunajit Kashyap along with Saikia Kakati and others.

A Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme has been drawn up, according to SVEEP in-charge and assistant commissioner Srabana Sonowal.

“Workshops for booth-level officers for grassroots sensitisation of PwDs with voting capability, numbering more than 600 till now, are being conducted while the availability of ramps for providing access to the PwDs are being ensured. Temporary as well as concrete ramps will be constructed wherever required,” Sonowal said.