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Hot air balloon put up to aware people about voters' rights in West Singhbhum

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Chaibasa, Apr 2 (PTI) The administration in tribal-dominated Jharkhand's West Singhbhum district, which has been affected by Maoist activities, has put up a giant sky balloon to aware of their rights to vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

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The hot air balloon, put up at a height of 100 feet in Chaibasa, the district headquarters, is part of a massive campaign programme, also launched in far-flung areas to encourage voters to exercise their franchise.

Innovative ways such as the opening of 1,284 'Chunav Pathshala' and 72 electoral literacy camps, are being adopted under the Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) to make voters remember the poll day, Deputy Commissioner-cum-district election officer, West Singhbhum, Kuldeep Chaudhary told PTI.

The Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat, known for one of Asia's thickest Saal forests, will go to polls on May 13.

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SVEEP is the flagship programme of the Election Commission of India to educate, spread awareness and promote literacy among voters in India.

"SVEEP activities have been intensified in the district to increase the voter turnout. A massive hot air balloon is put up at a height of 100 feet in the heart of Chaibasa with a message that urges people to exercise their franchise on May 13," Chaudhary told PTI.

The innovative idea, conceived by Chaibasa Sub Divisional Magistrate Animesh Ranjan and Assistant Collector Shruti Rajlakshmi under the SVEEP programme has been attracting the masses, the deputy commissioner said.

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Elections personnel are also reaching out to persons with disability to apprise them of facilities that they can avail to cast votes, he said. The sky balloon on the clock tower premises in Chaibasa has become a centre of attraction for people who are vying to take selfies with it.

"We have urged people who are thronging the place to take a pledge that they will participate in the polls with their families and neighbours," the official said.

Singhbhum ST constituency in the southern part of Jharkhand has 14.32 lakh voters, including 7.27 lakh women.

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Geeta Kora, the wife of former chief minister Madhu Koda, has been fielded from the seat by the BJP.

Kora, the lone Congress MP from Jharkhand in the outgoing Lok Sabha, joined the saffron camp recently.

JMM may field state transport minister Dipak Biruafrom from the seat.

Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand will be held in four phases on May 13, 20, 25 and June 1.

In the 2019 general elections, the BJP emerged victorious in 11 seats, while its ally AJSU secured one. Both the JMM and Congress have one seat each. PTI NAM BDC

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