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Delhi polls: Parties focus on booth management

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, December 03, 2013
First Published: 00:55 IST(3/12/2013) | Last Updated: 02:12 IST(3/12/2013)

Campaigning for the Delhi Assembly polls came to a close by 5pm on Monday. However, on the ground it was over only in terms of rallies, meetings and pamphlets.

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All parties have chalked a hectic schedule to ensure a high voter turnout in their favour.

The three main contenders — the Congress, BJP and the AAP — have planned to personally reach out to the voters and trained their workers for the purpose. A total of 1.19 crore Delhiites will vote at 11,992 polling booths on December 4 to elect a new government. The 2008 elections had recorded 58.6% voting turnout.

The main opposition BJP has formed 30-member team per booth. A total of 280 ‘karyakarta sammelans’ were held wherein the cadres were trained to ensure they know how the electronic voting machines operate.

Senior BJP leaders kept a tab on workers via teleconferencing, wherein they called workers randomly to check their location and on-going work. For instance, starting Sunday, the party reached out to 10,153 booth workers in groups to find out how many voters slips had been distributed.

“Micro-management is important. It can boost voting by up to 10% as many voters do not even know their booths,” said a BJP leader.

With no previous experience in booth management, it is a now or never opportunity for AAP, be it carrying out indoor meetings, ensuring voters are informed or the last-minute, last-mile connectivity of booth management.

“Once the official time for outdoor campaigning ends, the party plans to hold indoor meetings. There is no restriction on it,” said an AAP leader.

“The training of five persons per booth included how to ensure that correct voter is voting, if needed how to challenge it and also, to ensure any abnormal activity is reported to the right person,” Durgesh Pathak, who conducted training sessions, said.

The incumbent Congress is relying more on tried and tested traditional methods. It has meticulously planned booth management, right up to assigning workers to wake up its agents at a specific time on the voting day.

Even when most workers are poll veterans, special training has been given to the agents and their responsibilities have been clearly defined, sources said.

“Micro-management includes telling car owners to ferry voters from their homes to the pooling booth and ensuring the car does not bear any sticker, pamphlet or party flag,” said a party worker, requesting anonymity.

All political parties came out in full force to campaign on the last day with senior leaders addressing rallies across the Capital.

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