With the UP assembly elections drawing closer, men in khaki are out to educate villagers about the power of their vote. And their message to people is: ‘Your vote can make a difference and bring change to your lives’.
Police personnel have donned the mantle of ‘vote votaries’ in Hardoi’s Atrauli police station area, nearly 65 km from Lucknow.
As part of a 15-day sensitisation campaign launched on Friday (January 13), cops are going around the villages on bicycles with messages asking people to go out and vote on the polling day. As many as 172 villages will be covered in Atrauli police station area.
Shyam Babu Shukla, inspector of the Atrauli police station, is the brain behind the novel initiative, which is getting wide support on social media.
A Satish Ganesh, inspector general (Lucknow zone) and other officers appreciated the initiative.
The IG said he would also ask other officers in-charge of police stations in Lucknow zone to motivate people to vote in a free and fearless manner.
Lucknow zone comprises Lucknow, Unnao, Barabanki, Rae Bareli, Sitapur, Hardoi, Lakhimpur Kheri, Amethi, Sultanpur, Faizabad and Ambedkar Nagar districts.
Shukla, who has been in service for 16 years, said he came across many incidents in which local politicians influenced the poor to vote in their favour and used musclemen to threaten them.
“My aim is to instill a sense of security among the underprivileged people and sensitise them to vote without fear,” he said.
He said the villagers were asked to inform the police if anybody put pressure on them to vote in their favour.
“We are educating villagers to not sell their votes, but use ballot power for nation-building,” he added.
“Two constables will be deployed for this campaign. I will also spare time for poll preparation,” he stated.
Confidence building measures
A women’s battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) staged a route march in some areas of the state capital on Sunday to instil a sense of security among women voters.
Arun Kumar, spokesman, Lucknow police, said the battalion staged the route march mostly in rural areas like Mohanlalganj, Nagram, Nigoha and Para and in Alambagh, an urban area.
The march by the women’s battalion would help build up confidence among women voters and ensure their better turnout in upcoming assembly polls.
Taking a cue from Aamir Khan-starrer ‘Dangal’, the district administration of Meerut has decided to organise a real wresting competition to mobilise voters to cast their votes on February 11, the day of polling.
To make the event a crowd-puller, district magistrate, Meerut, B Chandrakala has invited Phogat sisters, Geeta and Babita, to join the ‘Dangal’ which is scheduled to be held on January 22.
“The event will definitely attract voters, especially youngsters. They will pay heed to our and cast votes,” said ADM(E) Mukesh Chandra.
A wrestler from the city and Commonwealth games medallist, Alka Tomar, has also been invited to attend the event. She has learnt the nuances of wrestling from her coach Jabar Singh in the wrestling arena of CCS University.
Singh still trains many young girls and many of them have performed well in national and international events. A few of them will also challenge their rivals during the ‘Dangal’.
District officials are hopeful that the people’s love for sports, especially wrestling, would help in taking more voters to polling booths.
People in western UP have special affection for sports. Wrestling, cricket, hockey, badminton and shooting are quite popular among the youth and many of them have brought laurels for the country even at international level.