The Festival of Democracy was on display at the 15th Assembly elections today with many of the voting booths in the city and the district turning colourful, cheerful, innovative and ethnic.
The role of SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation) in this election is huge as it is the one which has taken many initiatives to attract the voters to the booth and increase their turnout.
One such effort was to convert the Government Girijana Ashrama Shale in Nagapura of Hunsur taluk into a mela-like atmosphere by setting up an ethnic booth.
Similar ethnic booths were set up within two kms of tribal settlements in eight districts of the State — Chamarajanagar, Udupi, Kodagu, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada, Mysuru, Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru.
The aim of setting up such booths was to attract tribals, who seldom vote and get busy with their routine work, to vote.
In fact there was even a welcome arch in Mutturu Colony that read ‘Rajiv Gandhi Matagatte-212’ as one entered the polling booth. The voters were welcomed by buntings and there were mini tribal huts where one could exercise his or her vote.
The polling officials at the ethnic booths wore traditional peta (headgear), white shirt, dhoti and shalya. The painting of tribals in dance costumes hung to the trunk of the coconut tree was another attraction. Thus a true festive atmosphere reflected in these unique booths.
In Bilikere, a model voting booth has been set up. Here it looked like there was a party as the chairs and tables had been decorated with white satin and blue frill clothes and similar colour balloons hung on the ceiling. The voters here were warmly welcomed like in a wedding or any other function.
Even though women have poor representation in State politics, this time 209 of them are in the fray — that is just a little over 8 per cent in the 224-Member Assembly Constituency.
However, the Election Commission this time with many firsts to its credit has also set up separate voting stations called Sakhi — the Pink Booths. Here the election booth is managed exclusively by the women polling staff. The booth looks very cheerful with pink wall, pink table covers, pink balloons and women too attired in pink sarees.
SVEEP has literally turned the voting into a festive occasion and the District Administration and the public are also joining hands to celebrate this Festival of Democracy.
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