The Election Commission of India (ECI) over the years has given much importance to maximum participation of voters in the election process to strengthen the democracy more and more.
In view of this, the ECI has directed all the states across the country to undertake Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) which has been proved effective in increasing the voters’ participation over the last couple of years.
However, the job is not finished yet. There are still many polling stations in the country which happened to be the cause of serious concern of the ECI for very low voters turn out.
Baralakhaity Lower Primary Polling Station under 67 Mangaldai (SC) Assembly constituency in the No 8 Mangaldoi HPC is one such polling station which has been a cause of concern for very low voters’ turn out. This polling station has already been identified as the polling station with lowest voters’ turn out among the forty polling stations with very low turnout taken from four Assembly segments under the Mangaldai Election District as far as the records of 2016 Assembly Election is concerned.
The polling station which had a total of 861 voters shared by 558 male and 343 female voters respectively recorded less than fifty per cent turnout. Out of the 861 total voters, 343 male and 84 female voters exercised their democratic rights during the last Assembly elections.
The situation was even worse in the previous elections when the voters’ turn out was recorded as less than thirty per cent. This significant rise in the voters’ turnout over the years is could possibly be the outcome of the voters’ awareness programmes conducted under supervision of the ECI.
Among several factors which contribute to this picture of very poor poll turnout – the worst is connectivity, long distance between the polling station and the area of inhabitants and lack of necessary public awareness are few main factors as identified by Babul Deka, the village head of that village. T
ractor is stated to be only means of mechanized transportation. Imdadul Ali, a retired assistant engineer of PHE who had performed his duties as the sector officer in that area during 2014 Lok Sabha election also accounted these factors responsible for this alarming poll scenario while talking to Northeast Now. However the former poll official didn’t consider the polling scenario as unsatisfactory considering the very hard accessibility of the area.
The area at a distance of some 35 kilometers from Mangaldai bordering, the mighty Brahmaputra is under constant threats from erosion. Several local government institutions have already lost its existence and erosion is also posing serious threat to the present school building used as the polling station.
Meanwhile Monika Borgohain, an assistant commissioner looking after the SVEEP activities under the supervision of a senior officer in the rank of an additional deputy commissioner as a part of ensuing general election while talking to Northeast Now made honest confession that they are yet to reach out to the voters of the area.
She claimed that they are aware of the poor turnout scenario of the locality and has chalked out plans to motivate the voters with the help of the ‘Chandraprabha Baideu’ or the ‘Jeebika Sathi’ under the ASRLM within a day or two. On the other hand, from the version of the supervising additional deputy commissioner, it could be apprehended that their efforts have been half hearted and they are happy enough if poll observers are satisfied with their presentations.
“Assistant commissioner Monika Borgohain is looking after it and she had a good presentation before the election observer,” said Kulen Sharma, the concerned additional deputy commissioner on being approached in this regard.
In addition to this, there are 24 other polling stations in the Mangladai Election District which have recorded less than eighty per cent voters’ turnout in the last Assembly election against the average 88.24 poll percentage of the district and 84.72 per cent as the State average.