Pradeep Pattanayak

When some eligible voters are reluctant to step out to exercise their franchise, a Non-Resident Odia stood out for his enthusiasm to cast his vote. 

Priyadarshee Panigrahi, son of former Minister and Parliamentarian, Late Sriballav Panigrahi, undertook a 20-hour journey from Dubai to Sambalpur, only to cast his vote. 

On Saturday, Priyadarshee cast his vote at Booth No. 171, Government Primary School, Bhutapara, Sambalpur. 

Many opine that the voters, particularly the younger ones, who seem to be least bothered about who is winning and who is forming the government and treat the voting day as a holiday, should take a leaf out of Priyadarshee’s book. 

However, this time, like Priyadarshee, some migrant labourers working outside the state also made it a point to cast their votes. They returned home and participated in the festival of democracy. 

However, the poor voter turnout in some places has become a matter of concern. 

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has taken a slew of steps to create awareness among voters and to increase their participation in the ongoing elections. Yet, the voter turnout in the phases concluded so far in the state is not much to rejoice at. 

Besides setting up special booths including pink booths, eco-friendly booths and all-women-managed booths, various facilities have also been made available at the booths. The objective behind such initiatives is only to bring eligible electorates to the booths. 

Still, the voter turnout percentage hovers around 60 to 70 per cent

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