iconimg Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mukesh Mathrani, Hindustan Times
Barmer, November 07, 2013
The Barmer election department has taken the help of tradition to come up with an initiative to encourage people to vote.

Distributing ‘peela chawal’, or yellow rice, is an age-old custom in western Rajasthan to ensure attendance of the community at marriages and other social functions.

Instead of invitation cards, this rice is sent to potential guests who, when they accept it, have a social obligation to attend an event.

This time, the election department, by distributing yellow rice has issued an invitation, as it were, to voters to persuade them to vote on December 1.

Field publicity officer, Barmer, Narendra Tansukhani said a big section of the people in this region  were migrants who live outside the area for their job or business. They return home or native village only on occasions such as Holi, Diwali or for family weddings. Their initiative is targeted, this time, on this section of the population, he said.

“Migrants have not been returning to cast their vote, which is why at the last election, the voting percentage in many places was very low,” said the officer.

“This time, when they came  home for Diwali, we approached them and invited them for voting by giving them ‘peele chawal’.”

Nodal officer of the Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation, Mukesh Pachori, said officers were going to make “good use of this tradition” and ensure maximum participation of voters this time.