‘Extensive campaign ensured huge turnout’

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The effective use of mass media and the proper distribution of police forces among others did the magic for the election machinery in attracting large number of voters to the polling booths, according to officials.

The officiating Chief Secretary, Barkos Warjri, on Monday said that the publicity efforts of the Election Department has paid dividends as the graffiti, banners and posters, advertisements through newspapers, music concerts and jingles in radio and TV have added charm to the elections by successfully attracting voters.

Graffiti on the walls of the government buildings were full of caricatures and cartoons which conveyed the message to the people to cast their votes for the deserving candidates. Prior to voting, the graffiti had also helped in large scale enrolment of voters.

According to Warjri, the organized public campaign has helped in larger peoples’ participation in the election.

Chief Electoral Officer P Naik also echoed the same and said that the innovations under the Systematic Voters Enumeration and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) provided a boost to the whole process.

The bandh called by the HNLC in Khasi Hills and the likely threat of disruption of polls by the GNLA in Garo Hills did not deter the people from coming out in large numbers on polling day on Saturday.

Warjri said that the proper deployment of security forces in the sensitive areas of the State ensured safety and security to the people.

Compared to the previous elections, the Centre sanctioned the necessary number of Central paramilitary forces which were sought by the State Government.

The Centre provided 91 companies of central paramilitary forces which would come to around 17 battalions. Out of this, over 50 per cent of the force was deployed in Garo Hills where there were past incidents of violence involving the GNLA. Besides 91 companies of Central troopers, the State police force also added to the security.

“We had worked out a detailed plan as far as deployment of forces was concerned and we could fill up the requirements as there was no shortage of personnel. Moreover, the magistrates also helped in assisting the police,” Warjri said.

While majority of the central forces will remain in the State till March 15, many have started moving out.