The Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP), commonly known as voters sensitisation programme, is targeting assembly constituency areas in Dehradun district for the Lok Sabha elections where voter turnout was below 70% (as per data of assembly elections 2012).
Interestingly, it was found that many people living in city areas do not vote. On the other hand, those living on the outskirts participate in large number in the electoral process.
According to statistics of district election office, among 10 assembly constituencies of Dehradun district, Rajpur Road, Dehradun Cantt, Dharampur, Mussoorie and Raipur reported lowest voter turnout. On the contrary, Chakrata, Sahaspur, Vikasnagar, Doiwala and Rishishikesh reported maximum voter turnout. As a result, officers incharge believe that people living in the city or those belonging to higher strata of society show bleak response during elections and do not cast their vote. Thus, voters sensitisation programme is focussing largely on such voters.
Rajpur Road assembly constituency reported lowest voter turnout in 2012 assembly elections-60.94%. In fact, in 2009 parliamentary election too the assembly constituency recorded lowest 49.22% voter turnout showing an increase of 11.72%. The assembly constituency is inhabited my educated and highly intellectual people. Similarly, Dehradun Cantt reported 61.72% voter turnout in 2012 assembly elections. In 2009 parliamentary elections, the assembly constituency recorded only 51.37% voter turnout. Sadly, the difference in voter turnout in Dehradun Cantt was lowest 10.35% in both elections.
Kaushalya Bandhu, nodal officer SVEEP and also general manager district industries centre told Hindustan Times, “Basically, we analysed that middle and lower class people exercise their power to vote. But, those belonging to higher class do not cast their vote.
Certainly, those who are highly educated or live in big bungalows need sensitization. Our voters sensitization programme is focusing largely on such people. We are using various modes to spread awareness amongst such people who do not want to stand in queue for voting.”
Like Rajpur Road and Dehradun Cantt, Dharampur assembly constituency, which was an agricultural area and has now turned a residential area too reported poor voter turnout during last elections.
In 2012 assembly elections the constituency reported 62.33% voter turnout. In 2009 parliamentary elections, only 49.74% voter turnout was reported.
Similarly, Raipur reported 63.87% voter turnout in 2012 assembly elections and 51.37% in 2009 parliamentary elections.
So how election officers are trying to facilitate high voter turnout in these four assembly constituencies? Pat come reply.
“Along with traditional medium of sensitizing voters, we will start spreading the message through local cable networks. Messages like ‘vote for stronger democracy’ and ‘greater participation for stronger democracy’ will be telecast on local cable channels. Besides, from April 25, we will also start sensitizing voters through clippings that will be broadcast at multiplexes during movie shows. This will enable to spread message of casting vote amongst people of higher class” Bandhu added.
Meanwhile, under SVEEP programme street plays will be organized in Hindi, Garhwali and Kumaoni languages across district. This medium will especially help in connecting with voters of village areas in the district.
Jaunsaris tops in casting vote
Chakrata assembly constituency known for its Jaunsari population is the topmost seat in Dehradun district where voter tunout is maximum. In 2012 assembly elections, the region reported remarkable 75.24% voter turnout.
However, in 2009 parliamentary elections it reported 53.93% voter turnout. The gap of voter turnout 21.31 is highest in the district spreading inspiration in other assembly constituencies as well.
Besides, Vikasnagar too reported high voter turnout in 2012 with 72.50%. Sahaspur reported 75.16%, Doiwala reported 70.98% and Rishikesh reported 67.96%.