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To escape election duty, govt employees respond frigidly to ECI notice

ECI had asked the district election department for a list of government employees with voter ID cards; their lethargic response towards election duty impelled the district administration to conduct an emergency meeting today

Pune: The low-voter turnout in the last few general elections has prompted the Election Commission of India (ECI) to change this scenario. Attempting to increase the voter ratio, the ECI, in the month of November last year, had asked the district election department to provide a list of government employees from each district who possess voter ID cards. This was done to ensure that their participation would draw a high voter turnout in each district this general election.

Line of duty: Government employees can perform their right to vote by using postal services or the election duty certificate, which allows them to cast their vote at the polling booth where they are stationed for elections
Line of duty: Government employees can perform their right to vote by using postal services or the election duty certificate, which allows them to cast their vote at the polling booth where they are stationed for elections. Representation Pic

Higher authorities of the district election department claim that they have received a very lukewarm response from the government employees, as they are of the opinion that the department is seeking their information to allot them election related duties.

District collector Vikas Deshmukh will be holding a meeting today with the head of various government and sub government departments along with police officials to make them aware about their voting rights.

“The government employees are on election duty on the voting day. However, they can perform their right to vote by using postal services or the election duty certificate, which facilitates the public servant to vote in person at a polling booth where they are stationed for election duty. But very few government employees execute this right,” said District Deputy Election Officer, Apurva Wankhede.

She added that to ensure a high voting rate, the ECI asked for the list of the government employees with voting cards, however, their sluggish attitude impelled the district administration to conduct an emergency meeting.

“Around 150 heads of various government offices would be present for the meeting. Orders will be issued to these heads to inform their employees about the ECI notification,” said Wankhede.

Reportedly, the decision to involve as many as government employees in the voting process came after the recent assembly elections held in five states including Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Mizoram where large number of government employees performed their right dutifully which increased the ratio of voter turnout.

Meanwhile, the final voters’ list would be published on January 31. Around 3.18 lakh new voters were registered during the voter’s registration drive while 27, 531 names of dead people were deleted from the list. The total number of voters in the district is 63.81 lakh.  

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