Poll panel draws in Jharkhand electorate with Aamir's message

Poll panel draws in Jharkhand electorate with Aamir's message

Thirty-eight-year old Nirmal Tirkey, who runs a tea shop on the Ranchi-Jamshedpur highway near the Jharkhand-Bengal-Odisha border village of Ghatshila, is not aware of who the President of India is or for that matter the name of Jharkhand chief minister.

But he knows who is Shibu Soren, Narendra Modi and, above all, Aamir Khan.
After all, the Election Commission has put up the posters of the Bollywood superstar on his shop with a message asking the electorate of the State to cast their votes and give up drinks.

The EC’s efforts in voters’ awareness in this part of the Jharkhand plateau is all the more significant as both men and women consume ‘hadiya’ (a form of local liquor prepared from rice).

But then, the tribal women, who are hard working, queue up to cast their votes, while men, in general, avoid going to polling booths on election day and enjoy wine/liquor provided by the different political parties on the eve of polling.

This year, Tirkey says, it won’t be the same when his constituency goes to poll in the second phase on December 2.

“It’s true that leaders try to induce us when liquor flows like municipal water during elections. But the EC has put up posters in every nook and corner in which Aamir is asking us to desist from drinks and exercise our franchise,” the semi-literate tribal says sheepishly.

Elsewhere too, the Election Commission has made sincere efforts in making the electorate aware about their voting rights.

Street plays, painting competitions and football matches (quite popular in Jharkhand) are being organised as part of voter awareness drive.

“This is being done as there are 11 lakh new voters in Jharkhand in the age group of 18 to 21. We have, therefore, appointed campus ambassadors in every college who will create awareness about voting rights,” said Manju Sinha, principal of Ranchi Women’s College.

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