Voter education ‘ineffective’ in Bara district

- LAXMI SAH, BARA

Sep 17, 2017-

A majority of residents in 16 local units of Bara district have complained that volunteers did not reach out to them to share information on the voting procedure in the third phase of local elections.

The District Election Office (DEO) mobilised around 500 volunteers to teach voters the voting procedure in Monday’s polls. But the elections less than 48 hours away, the voters said they did not know how to cast their votes. “No one has come to teach us,” said 85-year-old Hari Das of Kalaiya Sub metropolis-6. “I don’t know how to stamp Swostik mark in a single large ballot paper.” 

Another voter, 70-year-old Mahantha Mahato Kushwaha, is also left confused by EC volunteers’ no show. “We have no clue about marking election symbols representing different candidates for different posts. We fear our votes might be invalid,” said Kushwaha. 

Discussions with their neighbours and relatives on the method to cast ballot were of little help, they said. Particularly women and elderly people are facing difficulties to cast their votes. “Only some political parties have incorporated voter education programme in their election campaign. We know only what the party’s activists told us,” said Ramawati Devi of Kalaiya-4. 

But they do not know how to cast vote independently. “Parties’ activists taught us how to cast votes for their parties. I am planning to cast my vote in an independent way. But without voter education, I am facing difficulties,” said 50-year-old Hari Shankar Yadav of Bishrampur Rural Municipality. 

Naresh Sarraf, chief of the DEO, lamented that the voter education remained ineffective due to the political rivalry in the beginning. “The education campaigns were obstructed due to protests by the agitating parties in the past,” he said, adding that they were compelled to wrap up a three-day training in a day due to the obstructions. “The environment for the polls was set up only after the political agreement. We focused on election management thereafter,” he said. 

Published: 17-09-2017 08:36

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