Ethnic booth a hit with tribals

Hassan: The ‘ethnic polling booth’ set up in Angadihalli in Belur to encourage the tribals to vote seems to have paid off heavily with about 70 per cent of the Hakki Pakkis voting these Lok Sabha polls.

The ‘ethnic booth’ was set up in the Belur village to motivate the tribals  to vote in the elections under the guidelines of the Election Commission of India (ECI), explains Mr Vijay Prakash, Chief Executive Officer of the Hassan Zilla Panchayat, who also heads the Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) cell in Hassan, that was instrumental in setting up the booth. The polling station has been designed both on the exterior and interior to attract the Hakki Pikki community with its art work displayed inside. Showing their involvement, tribal women drew rangoli at the entrance of the polling booth to mark the occasion.

“The response to the SVEEP campaign in Angadihalli has been very encouraging,” Mr  Prakash adds, noting that Hassan has a 39,000 strong tribal population, including the Hakki Pikkis, Medars and Valmiki Nayaks.

The SVEEP campaign also appears to have worked with Persons With Disability (PWD) as about 75 per cent of them came out to vote in the district, according to the officer. A PWD polling booth was set up at a polling station in the Hassan assembly segment with a ramp, wheelchair and staff to assist those who made use of it.

“We set up a separate booth for the disabled to give them confidence to come out and vote and the response has been very good this time  when compared to the last Lok Sabha election,” he adds.

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