Along with the rest of the country, Meghalaya celebrated the 11th National Voters Day at a function held at Raj Bhavan, Shillong. Governor Satya Pal Malik graced the occasion as chief guest.
The theme for this year’s National Voters Day was, “Making our voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed.”
Celebrations were also held in Jowai, Nongpoh and Tura.
Addressing the gathering, Malik lauded the efforts of the office of the Chief Electoral Officer along with the District Election Offices in leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that young voters take part in the electoral process. He stated that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Election Department was compelled to use virtual platforms for disseminating various voter education programmes, awareness and campaigns last year and the department introduced e-EPIC, which is portable and downloadable.
He further stated that it was a matter of pride that Meghalaya has been awarded the Best Electoral Practices Award 2021 for conducting the 2018 Assembly Elections by the Election Commission of India and hoped that the award would encourage the Election Department to strive for better results. He expressed happiness over the 2.59 percent increase in voter turnout and increase in female turnout by 3.50 percent in the last election. He also encouraged and urged all eligible youth of Meghalaya to enroll, exercise their rights and to take part in keeping the flame of democracy alive.
On the occasion, the Governor gave away prizes to the winners of the various competitions organised by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer in collaboration with Meghalaya Model United Nations. Awards were also presented to best booth level officers (BLOs) and distributed EPICs to newly enrolled voters. The Meghalaya Atlas and ELC Anthology were also released on the day and the Governor also inaugurated the art and photography exhibition at Raj Bhavan.
Earlier, East Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Isawanda Laloo flagged of the Wheels of Democracy Cycle Rally from Meghalaya Bharat Scouts & Guides, Shillong. The rally culminated at Raj Bhavan. At a separate function, Laloo informed that despite the pandemic, East Khasi Hills enrolled 18,814 voters in 2020-2021, a big leap from its usual average of around 10,000 per year.
In Jowai, EPICs were distributed to 30 newly registered voters. Awards were also given to two best BLOs, First Joy Lamare of 46-Saphai Pohrtiang A Polling Station under 4-Mowkaiaw AC and Anita Dkhar of 34-Nartiang A Polling Station under 1-Nartiang AC for their contribution in the election management.
The office of the Deputy Commissioner, election branch, had conducted quiz and debate competitions for students of Electoral Literacy Clubs Institutions on January 20. A debate on ‘Democracy is the best form of Government’ and a quiz on the electoral process, Meghalaya elections and current affairs were held. The winners were awarded certificates today.
In Nongpoh, the day included the presentation of awards to the best performing BLOs, Divinestar Jamu, BLO Umsohpanan PS and Nitalin Kharbuki, BLO Mawlang PS, distribution of EPICs to new voters and song performed by Ialamlang Kharjanti, of the Electoral Literacy Club.
In Tura, West Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer (DEO) Ram Singh today felicitated two BLOs and also distributed EPICs to newly registered voters. Trenish T Sangma, Headmistress of Asinagre UP School and Clever M Sangma, Headmaster of Chasingre LP School, both appointed as BLOs, were felicitated by the DC for their dedication and sincerity.
Earlier in the morning, a cycle rally was also held as part of the celebration.
SVEEP Icon Darlington Marak, a disabled person, also spoke earlier and apprised the gathering on various difficulties faced by the people with disabilities during elections and urged the administration to look into the matter.