In a bid to encourage all citizens to come out and vote, a city-based NGO has announced that it will provide meals to voters if they vote on the polling day on February 11.
“This is done as people, especially women, get involved in preparing food at home and don’t come to vote. We spoke to some officials who advised that free food could invite objection during the model code of conduct. So, we are now offering food for a nominal charge of Rs5,” VK Agarwal, chairman of the NGO, said.
The NGO Parmarth Samiti has offered two vegetables, puri, pulao, salad and a sweet dish to voters if they come and show the ink-mark on their finger. The food camp will be set up at Sector 23, Sanjay Nagar in Ghaziabad on February 11.
The NGO has gained the support of residents to procure vegetables, rice and other items. According to estimates, the items offered on the plate may cost nearly Rs50 in the market.
“The amount of Rs5 is just a token amount that we are seeking. The food will be offered only to those who have voted. Further, we have also started a signature campaign where we are offering pulao and getting signatures of people after encouraging them to vote on the polling day,” Devendra Hitkari, another member of the NGO, said.
The organisation members said they have also procured a bulk SMS package of nearly one lakh and will send text messages to voters on the night of February 10.
“Those who are arriving for the signature campaign are also asked to give us their mobile numbers. An SMS will be sent to their mobile phone on the night before the polling day,” Agarwal said.
During the last assembly elections in 2012, Uttar Pradesh had 12,74,92,836 voters of whom only 7,57,25,793 turned up at the polling booths. The overall state polling percentage was 59.40%.
In Ghaziabad, the polling percentage was 62.34% at Murad Nagar, 60.19% at Loni and 62.61% at Modi Nagar assembly segments that have a major rural voters’ base. The other segment of Ghaziabad City recorded 54.08% and Sahibabad segment recorded only 49.31% as per state election commission records.
This time, the district administration has also launched major programmes to encourage voters to come out and vote. An event, in which 15,000 students will participate, is scheduled at Kavi Nagar Ramlila Ground on Wednesday.