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LS Polls 2024 | ECI holds conference to increase voter turnout in Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla

CEC directs to create movement where voters are self-motivated to participate in elections
03:49 AM Apr 06, 2024 IST | GK NEWS SERVICE
ls polls 2024   eci holds conference to increase voter turnout in srinagar  anantnag  baramulla
New Delhi, Nov 30 (ANI): Chief Election Commissioner, Rajeev Kumar speaks to the press on the preparations for the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections, on Wednesday. (ANI Photo)
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New Delhi, Apr 5: Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has accelerated efforts to enhance voter turnout in parliamentary constituencies with a history of low poll participation in previous parliamentary polls.

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In a day-long ‘Conference on Low Voter Turnout’ held at Nirvachan Sadan, New Delhi, Municipal Commissioners from major cities and select District Election Officers (DEOs) from various states and union territories deliberated together to chart a path towards enhancing voter engagement and participation in identified urban and rural parliamentary constituencies.

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The conference was chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar along with Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu.

Addressing the Municipal Commissioners and DEOs, CEC Rajiv Kumar said that a total of 266 parliamentary constituencies (215 rural and 51 urban) with low voter turnout had been identified and all concerned Municipal Commissioners, DEOs, and State CEOs had been called on Friday to find ways to reach out to voters in a targeted manner.

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He emphasised a three-pronged strategy of providing facilitation at polling stations like queue management, shelter parking in congested areas, targeted outreach and communication, and involvement of critical stakeholders like RWAs, local icons and youth influencers to persuade people to come to polling stations.

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CEC Kumar directed them to prepare a booth-wise action plan for enhanced participation and behaviour change.

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He asked all MCs and DEOs to prepare different strategies for urban and rural areas and plan interventions accordingly for different target audiences.

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He emphasised that the ‘one size fits all’ approach would not yield results.

CEC Kumar also urged the authorities to act in a manner that instils pride among the voters in participating in the democratic festivities.

He called for a movement in which people are self-motivated to vote.

The conference, a collaborative effort between the ECI and key stakeholders, focused on crafting a comprehensive action plan to address voter apathy, streamline logistical operations, and increase voter turnout.

Discussions were centred on critical issues such as optimising queue management at polling stations, facilitating voting in high-rise buildings, and leveraging the influential Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme.

The conference was organised against the backdrop of around 297 million eligible voters, who did not vote in the 2019 parliamentary polls.

Furthermore, recent elections across various states have highlighted trends of urban apathy towards the electoral process, warranting targeted interventions and collaborative endeavours.

Of the 50 parliamentary constituencies with the lowest voter turnout in the 2019 parliamentary polls, Anantnag, Srinagar, and Baramulla were the top three parliamentary constituencies with the lowest voter turnout of 8.98, 14.43, and 34.60 percent.

In response to these challenges, the ECI has implemented several initiatives aimed at reinvigorating voter engagement and participation including devising a Turnout Implementation Plan (TIP) for targeted interventions at polling stations; crafting district-specific themes for polling stations catering to diverse demographic groups; collaborating with key stakeholders to expand voter outreach and awareness efforts; formalising electoral literacy in the education system through strategic partnerships; engaging national icons to connect with and inspire young voters; launching integrated multimedia campaigns and targeted initiatives like #MeraVoteDeshkeLiye; ensuring updated electoral rolls and accessibility-friendly infrastructure at polling stations; and promoting the use of IT applications for enhanced citizen participation and transparency.

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