Sachin Gupta’s days as an MCD school teacher are now punctuated with election fervour. Apart from taking classes at schools, he has been assigned the job of ensuring that people turn up to vote on Sunday.
These days, Gupta gets up early in the morning and heads towards east Delhi’s Surajmal Vihar. He carries with him a bunch of special polling letters to distribute among people. These letters contain information about the voter, their address and polling booth where they have to vote on the polling day.
There are close to 8,000 government employees like Gupta who will have been assigned this duty till Saturday to ensure a better voter turnout.
“I have been allotted 317 flats in Surajmal Vihar where these letters need to be distributed. I take classes in the school as well. I hope people will be motivated by this initiative,” said Gupta.
A total of 1.27 crore people will cast their votes on April 15. In east Delhi itself, there are 12 lakh voters. So the booth level officers (BLOs) will have to visit at least 2.6 lakh households to distribute these letters.
But BLOs are facing many problems in their assignment — from locked doors, to disinterested residents and guards who do not let them into colonies. But electoral officers say it is an important exercise. “We have already started the exercise of distributing these letters. Our BLOs have been assigned different areas to cover before elections. This initiative will motivate people to come out and vote,” said RK Mishra, deputy commissioner of east district, Delhi government.
The Delhi state election commission (SEC) had earlier come up with this novel idea to send invites to every registered voter in the Capital. The letter — with details such as the electoral number, the name and number of municipal ward, the polling centre and booth number — is being sent to all voters days before the elections to ensure they can reach the polling booths easily.
Residents too are happy with the initiative. “The government has taken a good step. So far, only political parties used to send us such letters but they had their agenda behind it. The letter from the commission merely asks us to vote,” said NL Vohra, a resident of Surajmal Vihar.
“We prepared these letters at the headquarters and the BLOs have been assigned the task of distributing them. The entire city will be covered before the elections,” said Rakesh Mehta, state Election Commissioner.The last municipal election in 2007 had witnessed an abysmally low voter turnout of just about 42.78 per cent. Though more than 57 per cent of voters had cast their votes in 2008 assembly polls, election officers feel Delhiites do not take municipal elections seriously and that there is an urgent need to create awareness among them.
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