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From Boat Rallies to Movie Screenings: Baramulla’s Journey to Promote Democracy

Record-breaking voter turnout of 59% in Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency signals a shift towards democratic engagement, even in challenging circumstances.
Indian Masterminds Stories

In the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency in Kashmir Valley, where there used to be a lot of fighting, something surprising happened during the elections on May 20. More people than ever before came out to vote, reaching 59%! This was even higher than the previous record of 58.9% back in 1984. But the most surprising part was what happened in Sopore. Despite being known as a place of unrest, more and more people there are choosing to vote. In 2009, only 1% of people voted, but by 2019, it was up to 4.5%. And in 2024, a whopping 44% of people in Sopore cast their votes. It’s a big change, showing how democracy is growing even in difficult times.

In a conversation with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Minga Sherpa, the DC of Baramulla, expressed, “This is definitely a victory for democracy. I am glad that our months of effort have translated into votes. This election holds special significance as it is the first one after the removal of Article 370.”

Since January, the SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation) campaign has been underway, with a series of events and activities aimed at connecting with voters, especially the youth. The district administration made sure to cover all areas, reaching out to every person with their message. They organized events at various places like Ladu Ladoora, DAK Banglow, Eco Park Khadiniyar, and Kaman Post Uri. Speakers at these events urged Booth Level Officers (BLOs) and Supervisors to conduct outreach initiatives such as door-to-door campaigns, community meetings, and social media awareness drives. These efforts helped mobilize the masses and generate excitement for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024.

The team also focused on including electors with disabilities in their campaign, aiming to empower and include the physically disabled community in the elections. Moreover, the awareness campaign didn’t just rely on rallies but also used entertainment as a tool for spreading awareness. In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, the District Commissioner elaborated on all the measures taken to raise awareness.

ATTRACTING  NEW VOTERS

Led by DC and District Election Officer Mr. Minga Sherpa, Baramulla started a lively voting awareness campaign on January 25th, 2024, National Voters’ Day. They began with a Road Rally involving new voters and students, spreading the message of democratic participation at important places.

After the rally, there was a big event at Dak Banglow Baramulla with activities like interactive sessions, painting competitions, and workshops to teach new voters. This event showed how committed Baramulla is to encouraging people to be active citizens.

On March 26th, 2024, a dynamic SVEEP campaign took place at SSM College Pattan, engaging young voters with workshops, seminars, and contests to teach them about their role in elections. This campaign’s success showed that young people are eager to vote.

Also, at North Campus Delina, Kashmir University, there were SVEEP activities like rallies, workshops, and interactive sessions to get people excited about voting. These efforts aimed to encourage new voters to take part in the electoral process by showing them the importance of civic duty and active participation.

Model Poling Stations

USING THE TOURIST HOTSPOT 

On March 16th, 2024, Gulmarg, a famous tourist spot, became a center for democratic participation. People from the local community and tourists gathered there for a big event called Mega SVEEP. The aim was to teach people about voting and get them involved in the election process. The event had workshops, interactive sessions, local music, and cultural performances. It helped people learn about voting and why it’s important. The DC Baramulla used the beauty of Gulmarg to make the event more enjoyable and to teach people about voting in a new way.

BOAT & CYCLE RALLY

On March 23rd, 2024, a Boat Rally started from Baramulla Foot Bridge Dewanbagh to Eco Park Khadiniyar. It was part of the SVEEP initiative to encourage people to take part in elections. With colorful displays and informative sessions, the rally showed the importance of voting and got people excited about the upcoming Lok Sabha election.

On May 4th, 2024, a Cycle rally began from the DC Office Baramulla to DAK Banglow Baramulla. It aimed to inspire young people and citizens to get more involved in politics for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024. The rally moved through the city, spreading the message of democratic empowerment and urging people to take action.

SKI FOR DEMOCRACY 

Selfie points turned civic duty into a celebration, encouraging students to capture their commitment to democracy. Enlightening workshops led by electoral experts debunked myths and clarified doubts, while interaction sessions provided a platform for dialogue between students and electoral officials. These initiatives fostered a culture of informed citizenship and underscored the community’s dedication to upholding democracy, leaving a lasting legacy of civic participation at Kashmir University.

On April 2nd, 2024, another activity was held in Gulmarg targeting both the locals and tourist. It was a groundbreaking SVEEP turning voting into a celebration. Set against the stunning backdrop of Afarwat Gulmarg, a designated “Selfie Point” invited both tourists and locals to capture moments of democratic pride. The “Ski for Democracy” events seamlessly blended thrilling sport with civic responsibility.

A plantation drive was held at 86-Wussan Model Polling Station in 11-Gulmarg Assembly Segment, with an aim to make the voting process more eco-friendly & boost civic engagement.

USING MOVIE AND ENVIRONMENT 

From April 21st to April 25th, 2024, at Sherwani Hall in Baramulla, something cool happened. They showed a movie called “Newton” to young people, hoping to get them excited about voting. The movie was all about a guy who wanted to do the right thing during elections. After watching the movie, everyone talked about how important it is to vote. It got everyone pumped up and ready to make a difference in the upcoming elections.

Besides all this, in the places where people go to vote, the DC’s team planted lots of trees. However, it wasn’t just a plantation drive but the campaign was to teach about voting. The drive was to show how important it is to take care of nature and to remind everyone to vote in the next elections. It’s like saying, “Let’s grow trees and also vote to make things better!”


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