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SVEEP awareness still a distant dream for voters of lowest turnout polling station in Assam’s Darrang district

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By Mayukh Goswami

Mangaldai : The Election Commission of India (ECI)  over the years has given much importance in the maximum participation of voters in the election process to strengthen the democracy more and more . In view of this the ECI has directed all the States of the country to undertake Systematic Voters’ Education and  Electoral Participation  (SVEEP)  which has been proved effective in increasing the voters’ participation over the last couple of years .

However  the job is not finished yet . There are still many polling stations in the country which happened to be the cause of serious concern of the ECI for being very low voters turn out . Baralakhaity Lower Primary (Right) Polling Station (PS)  under 67 Mangaldoi (SC) assembly constituency in the No 8 Mangaldoi HPC is one such PS  which has been a cause of concern for very low voters’ turn out. This PS has already been identified  as the lowest voters’ turn out PS among the forty PS with very low turnout taken from four assembly segments under the Mangaldoi Election District as far as the records of 2016 Assembly Election is concerned . The PS which had a total of 861 voters shared by 558 male and 343 female voters respectively recorded less than fifty percent turnout. Out of the 861 total voters 343 male and 84 female voters exercise their democratic rights .

The situation was even worse in the previous elections when the voters turn out was recorded as less than thirty percent . This significant rise in the voters’ turnout over the years is could possibly be the outcome of the voters’ awareness programmes conducted under supervision of the ECI .Among the  several factors which contribute to this picture of very poor poll turnout- the worst connectivity, long  distance  between the PS and the  area of inhabitants and lack of necessary public awareness are few main factors as identified by Babul Deka , the village head of that village . Tractor is stated to be only means of mechanized transportation.   Imdadul Ali , a retired Assistant Engineer of PHE who had performed his duties as the sector officer  in that area during  2014 Loksabha election also accounted these factors responsible for this alarming poll scenario while talking to this reporter. However the former poll official didn’t consider the polling scenario as unsatisfactory considering the very hard accessibility of the area.

The area at a distance of some 35 kilometers from Mangaldai bordering, the mighty Brahmaputra is under constant threats from erosion. Several local government institutions have already lost its existence and erosion is also posing serious threat to the present school building used as the PS. Meanwhile Monika Borgohain , an Assistant Commissioner looking after the SVEEP activities  under the supervision of  a senior officer in the rank of an Additional Deputy Commissioner as a part of ensuing general election while talking to this reporter  made honest confession  that they are yet reach out to the voters of the area . She claimed that they are aware of the poor turnout scenario of the locality and has chalked out plans to motivate the voters with the help of the “Chandraprabha Baideu” or the ‘Jeebika Sathi’  under the ASRLM within a day or two . On the other hand, from the version of the supervising Additional Deputy Commissioner it could be apprehended that  their efforts have been half hearted and they are happy enough if poll observers are satisfied with their presentations . “ Assistant Commissioner Monika Borgohain is looking after it and she had a good presentation before the election observer.” , said Kulen Sharma , the concern Additional Deputy Commissioner  on being approached in this regard.

In addition to this  Baralakhaity PS  there are twenty four other Polling Stations of the  election district including Bhokelikanda LP School , Dhariakhaity LP School , No2 Ghatang LP School , Garaimari Burhagohain LP School, Devananda LP School which have recorded less than eighty percent voters turnout in the last Assembly Election against the average 88.24 poll percentage of the district and 84.72 percent as the State average . 

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