Himachal Pradesh, a famous destination for tourists, would for the first time host ‘election tourists’ under the Election Commission’s initiative.
Seeing their keenness regarding the Lok Sabha elections in India, the biggest democracy in the world, the Election Commission of India has played host to nearly 50 delegates from 20 countries.
State election commission’s spokesperson Neeraj Sharma told HT that the election visitor’s programme was part of the South-South cooperation initiatives of the Election Commission of India.
“Delegates from different countries will reach here on Monday and they will be taken to the model polling booth in Shimla city,” said Sharma.
The EC has notified nearly four polling booths in the city as model polling booths. “A model polling booth will appear different from other polling booths,” said an election official.
Earlier, polling official would provide water and tea to the electors so that they feel that they have done a great job by voting, he added.
He said in these elections for the first time such tours have been organised and it would also help them (visitors) explore the electoral process of the country.
The EC will apprise them about the arrangements made by the commission to conduct elections even in the far-flung areas. “We have the highest polling booth of the country and polling parties have to travel a lot to reach some booths,” said he.
An ECI official told HT that delegates were keen to witness that how the election was held in the biggest democracy of the world. “Population of over 120 crore with cultural diversities will elect a government of 543 people is a curious matter for them (visitors),” he said.
This programme is an initiative of the EC in collaboration with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). “This delegation would comprise some people from electoral bodies of different countries,” he said.
The countries from where election tourists will come are: Namibia, Nigeria, Lesotho, Malaysia, Mauritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Uganda, Kenya, Bhutan and some delegates are from countries of league of Arab States (Seria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Morocco, Somalia, Palestine, Iraq and Oman).
Earlier, the delegates have visited Karnataka on April 17, Uttar Pradesh on April 24 and West Bengal on April 30. Before visiting election locations delegation had attended special briefing organised by ECI in New Delhi. After concluding their tour in Himachal Pradesh the delegates would attend another session of interaction at the ECI.