Assam: Women voters far outnumber men in Hailakandi district

In the polls conducted on Thursday, women voters recorded overall 77.81 per cent in comparison to men’s only 49.72 per cent.


Hailakandi

Women voters far outnumbered men in the overall polling percentage in Hailakandi district that falls under 1 Karimganj (SC) Parliamentary Constituency.

In the polls conducted on Thursday, women voters recorded overall 77.81 per cent in comparison to men’s only 49.72 per cent. Of the total 2,28,750 women voters, 1,77,999 turned out to exercise their franchise. 8 Algapur LAC witnessed the highest poll percentage of women voters at 83.17 followed by 7 Katlicherra LAC at 77.50 per cent and 6 Hailakandi LAC at 73.15 per cent.

The district recorded an overall 63.03 per cent voting. There are eight LACs under 1 Karimganj (SC) Parliamentary Constituency out of which three falls in Hailakandi district.

Due to ‘SVEEP’ing initiatives, the turnout of women was higher this time compared to previous elections, thanks to the district administration headed by Deputy Commissioner cum District Election Officer, Keerthi Jalli.

Spearheading the campaign Jalli visited different parts of the district to appeal to the women voters to come out and vote leaving behind their household chores for a while to assert their democratic right.

Jalli toured remote and far flung areas of the district falling under South Hailakandi development block to urge the women voters to make their presence felt in a big way on the polling day.

Coinciding with the festival of colours, Holi, DC Jalli played holi with the married Bengali women voters and gifted shakha (bangles) to them. She went from door to door appealing to them to vote.

To woo women voters and to inculcate hygiene on menstrual cycle, the administration distributed sanitary pads free of cost.

Believing in women power, the administration organised sporting events in which young girls and sportswomen demonstrated their sporting prowess and also took the pledge to persuade their parents, relatives, family and friends to come out on polling day.

Saas-Bahu Sanmelan, Aideur Chora and Chandraprabha were organised to sensitize women voters on the importance of voting.

For the convenience of women voters, the administration set up six women polling stations, two each in the three LACs.

Lauding the efforts of the district administration to increase the overall percentage of women voters, political observers here point out that women are likely to play a decisive role in the upcoming general elections as their voting participation is likely to be higher than that of men in the upcoming polls.

According to them, though men still outnumber women in terms of registered voters, the actual turnout of women voters is increasing at a rate faster than that of men, and that would make the real difference this time.

“Their (women) rising participation at the ballot represents a remarkable trend; by 2019, it is plausible that women’s turnout will meet – or even exceed – that of men,” they opined.

Data from the Election Commission of India showed that the average turnout in general elections increased significantly in 2014 and the gender gap in terms of voter turnout was also lowest in the last general elections since Independence.

“Women’s rising turnout in elections and their growing political assertiveness will again be an important swing factor in the upcoming elections,” it said.

Besides women voters, the administration also targeted the 1.5 lakh first-time voters. There has been an increase of over 10,000 new voters this time.

Campaign to catch them young gathered steam. It launched a unique idea to woo the first time voters using Bollywood memes to break the ice between government and the Gennext by seeking their promise to vote by way of a selfie with a Facebook frame specially created for them.

Jalli personally appealed to the young voters to go out and vote as ‘it has the great power to change things for the better’.

Yet another innovative idea to attract the voters was by offering lucrative discounts on products, accommodation, medicine, gold making charges and in food outlets.

The administration tied up with the local merchants association to come up with this unique idea. For those who showed their inked index finger offers were up for grabs for two days – on polling day and the next day.

The administration had taken a slew of steps to provide facilities to persons with disabilities (PwDs) and to elderly and senior citizens, including transportation.

ICDS volunteers came out to extend a helping hand to the disabled voters to cast their franchise without facing any difficulty. The administration also set up model polling station with selfie corner for anyone to strike a pose after casting his or her vote.

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