Hailakandi election district registers highest voter turnout with over 82%

Hailakandi, April 2: The highest turnout in the Assembly polls in Hailakandi election district –marginally better than the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and 2016 Assembly elections–has come as a good news for democracy, thanks to the slew of initiatives taken up under SVEEP by the election authorities here. 

Amidst the second wave of Covid pandemic fears, a comparatively muted election campaign, and social distancing measures at polling stations were feared to trigger a decline in voter turnout. But that is clearly not the case insofar as election to three Legislative Assembly Constituencies here is concerned.

The district saw the highest turnout of 82.33% in the annals of electoral politics surpassing the previous records. In the previous Assembly election in 2016, the district recorded 79.87% and 79.48% in 2019 Parliamentary election. The election authorities here worked day in and day out pulling out all stops to ensure large participation in the electoral exercise.

Under the stewardship of District Election Officer cum Deputy Commissioner, Megh Nidhi Dahal, IAS, comprehensive plans were chalked out with focus on areas with low percentage of voting, especially in urban and interior areas to ensure large turnout this time around. The meticulous and well organised planning worked wonders with the district eclipsing the previous records. 

“For democracy, this is heartening indeed. The spirit of the citizen to make the vote count will help the country to stand in good stead,” said a political analyst.To attract the young voters, the administration put up selfie corners together with Facebook photo frame, which evoked tremendous response. Voter Express was launched splashed with catchy slogans all over to woo voters.

The express voter vehicle crisscrossed the entire election district for nearly 20 to 25 days. LeD display vehicle urging voters to vote too travelled to various parts of the district. The administration produced three numbers of videos, including music video to attract voters and these were lapped up by the young voters. 

One of the major attractions was the unveiling of sparrow mascot, the small but energetic bird to drive home the message on the paramount importance of asserting the greatest democratic right to vote given to a citizen by the Constitution. 

Street plays were staged by artistes to draw the voters under SVEEP. Nehru Yuva Kendra, Assam State Rural Livelihoods Mission and Election Department too pitched in their efforts. That was not all. Candle light march with banners and posters was also organised to draw the attention of voters. The election authorities felicitated the young voters with citation as well as the senior citizens. On the day of polling on Thursday, the administration decked up all the six numbers of all women polling stations and 10 numbers of model polling stations.

Each polling station centred on a theme to woo the voters. Themes such as save environment, save mother earth, save water, save life, shitalpati – a heritage of Hailakandi, rich textiles of Hailakandi and on sustainable farming with display of agriculture implements, seeds locally available together with exhibition by SHGs helped to pull the voters, young and old alike. These polling stations also had waiting sheds for voters to rest with drinking water facility. Circles were made to maintain physical distancing due to the pandemic with thermal scanning at the entry points. Masks and gloves were distributed to the voters.

The polling stations were properly sanitised in the wee hours to keep COVID at bay. “Soaring voter turnout is good for democracy. This election is certainly not the easiest election for voters with the second wave of pandemic and protocols in force. I believe, by making it harder, many might come to see the real value of exercising this right. And it exactly turned out to be with the impressive voter turnout in the first and second phases of the Assam Assembly election.For a country that places democracy at the centre of our identity, a huge turnout in this election bodes well for our democracy,” added the political analyst. 

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