Thank you Delhi, says CEO Dev

Delhiites broke all voting records to set a new one of over 65 per cent on Wednesday in the Assembly elections and Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Dev looked to be a happy man.

Fighting urban apathy, Dev led thousands of election department officials and security personnel in encouraging Delhiites for coming forward and exercise their franchise in large numbers for picking a new 70-member House.

After a busy day, Dev took some time off to speak to Deccan Herald and said he was eyeing a record polling percentage and his team has managed to achieve it in style.
“Citizens of Delhi and the youth in general have come close to us and they reciprocated to our campaign to boost voting,” he said.

“We went all out to achieve a high voter turnout as Delhi being the Capital is looked up to by many other states to set high standards. Apart from promotional campaigns led by youth icons to encourage voter participation, we also addressed the problem of urban voters’ apathy,” he said.

“Delhi’s stereotyped image as a city with urban voters’ apathy has been changed completely,” he said, pointing to the 58 per cent polling percentage recorded in the 2008 Assembly polls.

Dev, a 1987 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, said detailed surveys were conducted right up to the booth level to analyse the reason why voters of a particular polling centre had not turned up the last time.

“We studied factors related to the polling booths’ location, voters’ age, income group and social background,” he said.

“We came up with detailed action plan for each booth and reached out to all sections of society in a manner which was meaningful for them,” he said, pointing to music concerts held to involve young voters and the innovation of engaging actress Soha Ali Khan as the icon of Delhi elections.

The chief electoral officer said one of the common complaint of voters was that of poor infrastructure at polling booths. They pointed to lack of drinking waters, toilets and virtually no arrangement for them while waiting for their turn to cast the ballot.

“As a test case, we set up nine model polling booths to improve the experience of voters by providing swanky chairs and other facilities in waiting rooms,” he said.

The CEO promised that in the near future, they would try to replicate this model at all of the over 11,900 polling booths.

Dev said some special features of these elections have been zero tolerance for poll code violations and enrolment of record number of first-time voters.

“Zero tolerance to violations is a major highlight of our performance. In these elections we have achieved 100 per cent voter election card coverage, enrolled 1.19 crore electorate and identified over 70,000 officials and election duty staff who would cast their vote through postal ballots,” he said.

Dev pointed to record seizure of over Rs 1.50 crore cash seized ahead of elections.
Due to our focus on young voters, we have added names of 4.05 lakh voters aged 18-19 years in the electoral rolls, he said.

Dev said the Assembly elections will also be remembered for two innovations on the technology front. One, introduction of the ‘none of the above’ option button in ballot units and the pilot project of using paper trail system — print out of each vote cast — in the New Delhi constituency.

Comments (+)