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HindustanTimes Fri,26 Dec 2014

Magician hired to spread awareness among voters

Harpreet Kaur Harpreet Kaur, Hindustan Times  Jalandhar, March 25, 2014
First Published: 22:17 IST(25/3/2014) | Last Updated: 10:32 IST(27/3/2014)

The district election officials are hitting upon new ideas to make voters aware about the importance of their right to vote. In Mukerian assembly segment of Hoshiarpur parliamentary constituency, the officials have hired the services of a magician to catch the voters' fancy.

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Magician Avtar Singh Charkha goes to educational institutions in the area and shows how the "magical power" of voting eliminates vices from the society.

Someone from the audience is asked to assist to perform the "trick" to make it more captivating. Then, there is a singer who conveys the importance of voting through his renditions. The song "Main tan paani vote ve mitra" is co authored by assistant returning officer Rahul Chaba."Mukerian is predominantly a rural constituency where people show little interest in parliamentary elections. To engage them, we are adopting these means. Magic shows are used to convey the message in a light-hearted manner. The response has been excellent," said Chaba."Besides motivating people to use their voting right, the drive is also aimed at promoting ethical voting," he added.After Mukerian, the magician has been engaged for Dasuya and Urmur segments where official machinery is already in educating voters. From motor vehicles to confectionery boxes, election messages are pasted everywhere. "We have more plans to ensure maximum voting in the coming days. Voters' appeal will be pasted on land title printouts," said Barjinder Singh, Dasuya assistant returning officer.

Deputy commissioner-cum-district electoral officer Tanu Kashyap has announced 50% rebate on bus fare for voters within the district on May 1, the day after the polling. Anyone can avail the discount by showing the indelible ink mark on their finger. A half-marathon has been planned for April 5 in which various NGOs and students will be participating. Kashyap has ordered printing of motivational messages on all government communications. The health department has been asked to do this on out-patient department (OPD) slips.

Incidentally, Hoshiarpur was one of the three districts of the state that registered the lowest turnout in the previous Lok Sabha election. The Election Commission of India has deputed an awareness observer to take note of the interventions undertaken by the poll machinery to raise voter awareness in these districts. He would also oversee the functioning of media certification and monitoring committees (MCMCs) formed in each district to keep tabs on cases of paid news and other media-related violations.

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