EC banks on poll baits, hopes for 75% turnout in Jharkhand

  • Sanjoy Dey, None, Ranchi
  • Updated: Apr 16, 2014 23:46 IST

Cast your vote and get ready for a volley of discounts. In a bid to woo the maximum number of voters, business establishments as well as the Indian Medical Association (IMA) have come up with attractive offers.

Not only this. Polling at 600 booths will be aired live to bring about greater transparency. Also, 566 model booths in six constituencies — Ranchi, Giridih, Jamshedpur, Singhbhum, Khunti and Hazaribagh — are ready to welcome voters by offering special treatments.

More than 85 lakh voters are expected to exercise their franchise at 10,136 polling stations in six Lok Sabha seats. Out of the total number of voters, over 3.88 lakh are young voters in the age group of 18-19 years.

All these six constituencies have witnessed 51% turnout in the 2009 elections. Thus, this time the Election Commission is making extra efforts to raise the figure to at least 75%.

“We are expecting an improvement of 20-25% compared to last time,” PK Jajoria, the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Jharkhand said.

Multiplexes in the state capital have declared offers on tickets for those who would cast their votes. “Those who vote on Thursday will get a free popcorn pack worth `75. However, one has to show the ink mark and voter ID card to avail oneself of the offer,” Dhruv Kushwaha, the manager of Glitz Cinema, said.

Manager of Eylex Cinema Ajit Kumar Chaudhary said, “We will give special coupons for popcorns along with
cinema tickets.”

Jharcraft, a Jharkhand government undertaking, will offer 20% discount on all products. “The discount will continue for a week,” Bageshwar Singh, the general manager (administration), Jharcraft, said.

Hotel Ashok in Ranchi will offer a weeklong discount of 30% on room bookings and food. However, major hotels and restaurants have denied offering discounts to voters even after the request of the district administration.

No entry fees would be charged from voters at Nigam Park in Morahbadi while Aqua World will offer 50% discount on its entry fee.

The Indian Medical Association has already declared 25% discount on consultation fees of doctors.

At the directive of the Election Commission, the district administrations of six constituencies have set up 566 model booths. There will be 186 such booths in Ranchi, 25 in Chaibasa, 20 in Simdega, 10 in Ramgarh, 6 in Giridih, 12 in Jamshedpur, 158 in Bokaro, 35 in Khunti, 20 in Seraikala-Kharswan, 28 in Dhanbad and 66 in Hazaribagh.

Voters will get special treatments like tea, mineral water and cold drinks at these booths. Also, voters will not have to stand in a queue for casting votes, as they would be able to vote through token system.
The CEO’s office has made webcasting arrangements at 600 booths. Out of these 75 are in Chaibasa, 90 in Ranchi, 30 in Simdega, 40 in Ramgarh, 35 in Giridih, 110 in Jamshedpur, 30 in Dhanbad, 40 in Bokaro, 30 in Khunti, 60 in Seraikela-Kharsawan and 60 in Hazaribagh.

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