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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Dec 2014

On D-Day, voters to get 'VIP' treatment at polling stations

Vinod Kumar, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, April 01, 2014
First Published: 08:18 IST(1/4/2014) | Last Updated: 10:07 IST(1/4/2014)

Don't get surprised if you get warm greetings and are welcomed for any kind of assistance at your polling booths on the D- Day. The Chandigarh election department has decided to depute National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers at all polling stations in the city for meting out special treatment to voters.

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The department has identified nearly 1,000 NSS volunteers, who will be deputed at 490 polling stations across the city.

The department has conducted a special training programme for the volunteers to explain their roles and responsibilities.

UT deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer Mohammed Shayin said, "We plan to give 'VIP' treatment to voters with an aim to make people vote in a large number. The department eyes over 80% voter turnout, which was 65.5% in the last parliamentary election held in 2009."

He further said to make the voters feel special, volunteers would be deployed at the entrance for their welcome.

The volunteers have been asked to pay special attention towards disabled voters to ensure that they do not face any inconvenience. During the training programme, the volunteers were sensitised about the special needs of disabled voters, for courteous behaviour towards them and for providing necessary support to them at the polling station.

The volunteers have been directed to ensure that disabled voters electors are given priority for entering the polling station without having to wait in the queue.

Besides, the volunteers have been also been asked to pay special attention to first-time voters, senior citizens and female voters.

The election for the lone parliamentary seat in Chandigarh will be held on April 10. The city has a total of 6.14 lakh registered voters, of which 1.71 lakh voters have been registered in the age group of 20-29 years.

According to the final voter list, there were a total of 3.33 lakh male voters and 2.81 lakh female voters. As many as 23,263 first-time voters are in the age group of 18-19 years.

Shopping fest to woo voters

To attract voters, the department has planned a three-day shopping festival starting from April 11 in association with the Chandigarh Beopar Mandal (CBM).  During the event, heavy discount will be offered to voters, returning officer Mohammed Shayin said.

All multiplexes and cinema halls in city have also joined the drive of the Chandigarh election department to encourage city residents to vote by deciding to provide free cold drinks and popcorns to the voters on poll day by showing indelible ink mark on their finger.

Shayin maintained that more such efforts would be made with the support of private sector to enhance the voting percentage.

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