The initiative for the Yearlong Diamond Jubilee Celebration started with the constitution of the District Level Committee Members as directed by the Chief Electoral Officer & Chairman, State Level Committee. Meetings were held with Committee members and Prominent personalities /Church Leaders/ Youth Clubs / Youth Organisations / Youth Associations etc.
The celebration kick started with a short ceremonial programme presided by the Chief Guest Shri Sanjay Goyal, IAS, Deputy Commissioner & District Election Officer, West Garo Hills, Tura along with Car/Bike Rally on the 23rd October 2010. The invitees included were representatives from the Political Parties / Senior Citizens / Prominent Personalities / Youth Clubs / Youth Associations / Youth organizations / Heads of Departments / Heads of institutions etc. Among the guest present were Shri D.P. Marak, SP, Tura, Shri S.G. Momin, Retd. IGP, Shri D.D. Shira, SDO (C), Dadenggre, Shri Greathalson Areng, Genl. Secretary, DCC, Shri S.R. Marak, City President, NCP among others
As part of the yearlong Diamond Jubilee Celebration various competitions such as; Essay Writing, Quiz, Debate, Group Singing, Slogan, Drawing etc., were to be conducted, Smti.H.D.B. Sangma, ADC Election, Tura took the initiative forming a Sub-Committee for conducting various competitions with better efficiency. Thus, the Inspector of Schools, Tura, Principals, Lecturers etc., along with few Committee Members together constituted the sub-committee. Convener of the sub- committee was also appointed; all members were to be mobilisers. As per popular suggestions from the members, Essay competition was decided to be held on the 18th November 2010. Topic of the essay for 10+2 was titled “The need for a free, fair, peaceful and fearless election” and topic for graduate and post-graduate level was “The influence of money power in electoral process – measures to curb the role of money power in elections”. Plain papers bearing the seal of the District Election Officer, West Garo Hills were distributed to the competitors on the day of the competition. Shri P.K. Hajong, Inspector of Schools took the initiative to do the needful. Christian Girls’ Higher Secondary School was chosen as the venue for Debate & Quiz competitions and date was fixed for the 19th November 2010 from 10:00 AM onwards. The topic for debate for 10+2 level was – a) Why should I vote? and while for degree / post graduate students – b) A faithful, honest and righteous candidate can still triumph despite heavy odds. Questions for the Quiz competition were from the Electoral history of India and Meghalaya.
Shri Tejan Momin, Lecturer, Tura Govt. College was unanimously selected to be the quiz master. Since group singing competition required some space for the competitors to plan, compose, practice etc. all members decided that a convenient time for conducting the event shall have to be chalked-out. Although the venue / date / timing could not be decided specifically, it was decided that the competition is to be open to all and topic of the song is to relate to elections, Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the Election Commission of India or Patriotic.
The President and the Secretary and a member of the Mothers’ Union, Tura an active NGO recorded a panel discussion in Garo at Doordarshan Kendra, Tura on the rights of a voter, the eligible age for registration of a new voter, responsibility of a voter besides important aspects of elections.
Planning for the Celebration
Plans to celebrate the National Voters’ Day in a grand manner was chalked-out and as we stepped into the promising new year discussions and plans gained momentum. As per notification by the Election Commission of India Photo Electoral Rolls were to be published on the 5th January 2011. Hence, from 6th January there were various activities to be completed before the National Voters’ Day on the 25th January 2011. They were:
Thereafter, on the 13th January 2011 a meeting was convened inviting all Committee Members / ERO's / AERO's / Heads of Department / Political Parties / NGOs / Youth Clubs / Youth Associations / Organisations etc., to discuss various issues relating to celebration of the National Voters’ Day which was being proposed to be celebrated in a grand manner.
The Deputy Commissioner & Chairman informed all present that the meeting was convened to chalk out plans to celebrate the National Voters’ Day on the 25th January 2011 which is also the foundation Day of the Election Commission of India and as per the instructions of the Election Commission of India. It was also informed that various programmes in connection with the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of Election Commission of India that were organized earlier were Essay Writing, Debate, Quiz, Drawing and the celebration in the district which kick started with the Car/Bike Rally was also mentioned. They were informed that these competitions were held basically to create awareness among the youth on various aspects relating to elections, involving the participation of people, especially the youth and to popularize the election process.
Decisions taken in the meeting: The Chairman informed all present that since the National Voters’ Day was being held for the first time opinions/ suggestions /plans and proposals are required to be chalked out to make it a meaningful event. Therefore, everyone was invited to give their suggestions for the celebration. Duration of the programme could be 2 (two) to 3 (three) hours or even more.
Newly registered voters were to be felicitated by the concerned Electoral Registration Officer / Assistant Electoral Registration Officer of the Constituency in those Polling Stations with the largest number of newly registered voters.
Newly Registered Voters of all Constituencies of West Garo Hills District were to be felicitated with a badge of the commission along with their EPIC in their respective polling stations. Newly Registered Voters would mean electorates in the age group of 18 to 20 years, included in any electoral roll for the first time. The Booth level Officers were to organize a brief function in their respective polling station with the Local Leaders / Nokmas / Gaonburahs etc. It was also informed that Booth Level Agents/Party Workers may also join the felicitation function.
The ADC Election informed during the meeting that a CD of Garo Songs recorded by famous local singers / artistes of Garo Hills on Elections and voter awareness to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee Celebration shall be released on the 25th January 2011, on the occasion of the 1st National Voters’ Day. It was decided that the venue for the celebration would be at DC’s Park from 11:00 AM onwards.
Since exhibition of past events was to be showcased during the celebration; Shri R.S. Sangma, ADC suggested that a mini-exhibition could also be organized displaying the old Electoral Rolls, old Ballot Boxes, and election related materials etc. Skit by the Mothers’ Union was also to be presented during the event.
As Group Singing Competition could not be held earlier, the same was proposed to be held on the 25th January 2011. Shri Saljagring M. Marak, Chief Advisor, New Tura Sunny Hills Youth Club alongwith members of the club volunteered to mobilize different localities/clubs etc., to join the competition. The Chairman requested Shri F.K. Marak, Asst. Director, DIPR, Tura to coordinate with the club members and work out the modalities for the competition including wide publicity of the events. It was also suggested that a minimum of 5 (five) participants shall form a group. The Group Singing Competition would be open to all localities/ NGOs/Clubs/ Schools/ Colleges/ Individual Groups and the theme of the songs to be either related to Diamond Jubilee Celebration / Election / Voter’s Awareness or Patriotic.
Since slogan competition held earlier could not materialize due to very few participation, the ADC Election & Secretary, District Level Committee suggested that an open competition for the slogan writing shall be held for all localities/ NGOs/Clubs/Schools/Colleges with a view to ensure better participation of people from various age groups. The Chairman, Shri Sanjay Goyal, IAS, Deputy Commissioner suggested that Shri P.K. Hajong, Inspector of Schools, Smti.B. Ch. Momin, Principal, Christian Girls’ Higher Secondary School and Smti. B.W. Momin, Principal, Tura Govt. College form a Sub Committee for mobilizing participants in the Slogan Writing Competition. Thereafter it was held on the 21st January 2011.
All members present were informed to mobilize the general public for better participation, members from youth clubs/associations were also requested to mobilize the youth to join the celebration.
Meeting with the Booth Level Officers: On the 22nd January 2011 a meeting was held with all Booth Level Officers (BLOs) to brief them on the plans for the celebration and handing over cash for expenses during the celebration. All BLOs were instructed to celebrate the 1st National Voters’ Day in their respective polling station as per the commission’s instruction. They were also instructed to distribute new EPICs to the newly registered electors along with a badge to the selected oldest and youngest voters at every polling station who are also to be felicitated during the event. To make the event a meaningful one, they were instructed to invite the Nokmas /Headman/gaonburahs, prominent personalities in the area, youth leaders etc., to take part in the celebration at their respective polling station. At the close of the meeting all BLOs were issued cash of Rs.2300/-, a flex banner costing Rs.200/- each; total allotment being Rs.2,500, EPICs, Badge, BLO’s signboards, Copies of the Voters’ pledge printed in English and Garo, pamphlets and a detailed programme for the celebration. Signboards were issued to the BLOs by their concerned Electoral Registration Officers / Assistant Electoral Registration Officers.
Finally the countdown to the much awaited grand finale was over; anticipating a successful turn of events gave sleepless nights to the organizers since it was for the 1st time the event was to be celebrated. The Election Commission of India declared the 25th January its Foundation Day as the “National Voters’ Day” which was to be to be celebrated every year. The events and programmes that followed on this historic and defining day were:
The programme started from 10:30 AM at DC’s Park, Tura with the presentation of bouquets to the Chief Guest Dr. Milton S. Sangma, VC (ICFAI) and the Guest of Honour Shri I.K. Sangma, Former State Election Commissioner (Delimitation Commission). Thereafter, welcome address and introductory speech was given by Shri Sanjay Goyal, IAS, Deputy Commissioner and District Election Officer.
A Short awareness talk was given by Shri A. Ch. Marak, MCS, ADC & Electoral Registration Officer 50-North Tura (ST) & 51-South Tura (ST) Assembly Constituencies on the R.P. Act. 1950 & 1951, Registration of Electors Rules 1960.
10 (ten) Newly Registered Voters and an Oldest Voter in the district were felicitated with a trophy each. The 10 (ten) newly registered voters of the district were selected through a draw of lots from the age group between 18 -19 years in the entire district w.r.t.01/01/2011 as the qualifying date. Shri Tangnon Sangma, S/o. Lt. Gongjing Marak, Age 103 years of village Bikonggre – II under 46 – Phulbari Assembly Constituency was felicitated being the oldest voter in the district. Prior to the felicitation, a team of officials from office of the Deputy Commissioner (Election), Tura was sent for verification and interaction with Shri Tangnon Sangma and it was learned that he had even voted in the 15th Lok Sabha General Elections, 2009. His eldest son Shri Solen Marak, age 56 years, an employee in the Office of the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council, Tura received the memento on his behalf.
Shri I.K. Sangma, Former State Election Commissioner (Delimitation Commission) gave a short speech on the importance of electoral process in a democratic country and people’s active participation.
A Garo Music Album titled “Manderangnin Manderangnan Manderangchin” (translation in English – ‘of the people by the people for the people’) was released by the Chief Guest on the occasion. This Garo Music Album was brought out by Deputy Commissioner (Election), Tura to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the Election Commission of India with a view to promote voters’ awareness among the newly registered voters and enhance better participation of the people in the electoral process. The album consisted of 8 (eight) well-known local singers.
Thereafter, a song was presented by Shri Raphael Ch. Marak, a renowned local singer and one of the artistes of the said album.
The Chief Guest Dr. Milton S. Sangma, VC (ICFAI) addressed the gathering with a brief history of the Election Commission of India and the celebration of 1st National Voters’ Day and spoke on the responsibility of the voters.
Smti. H.D.B. Sangma, MCS, ADC (Election), Tura offered a heartwarming and a very appreciative vote of thanks at the end of the official function.
This was followed by a light refreshment and group singing competition. Along-side a mini exhibition showcasing old Ballot Boxes, EVMs, Election Materials, Electoral Rolls from 1989 till date, Map of the Legislative Assembly Constituencies and 2-Tura (ST) Parliamentary Constituency, Photo gallery of past elections, events, competitions, appreciative slogans from participants etc. and a food festival was also organised. The Grand Finale of the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the Election Commission of India on the 25th January 2011 the 1st National Voters’ Day turned-out to be a multi event with awareness speech, group singing competition, release of music album, mini exhibition and a food festival. Live performance by the artistes also entertained everyone. The celebration was a grand success; the response from the general public especially the youth was immense.
Prominent citizens who were present on the occasion were Shri Billykid A. Sangma, Former MLA, 52-Tura (ST), Smti. Charlotte W. Momin, Jt. Director Higher & Technical Education, Shri Wilberforce Marak, Retd., DC Baghmara, Smti. Viola Sonachi B. Sangma, former MPSC Chairman, Shri Dalton P. Marak, SP, Tura, Shri Winstone G. Momin, President, Senior Citizen’s Forum and Heads of Departments. An audience of about 700 (Seven hundred) people were present on the occasion.
Pamplets in Garo on Voter’s Awareness were printed centrally by the Deputy Commissioner (Election), Tura and distributed to all Sub Divisional Headquarters / Block Headquarters and to all BLOs for distribution at all polling stations of West Garo Hills District on the 1st national Voters’ Day on the 25th January 2011.
Cash prizes, trophies and certificates for various competitions viz; Quiz, Debate, Essay, Group Singing, Drawing and Slogan Writing held at the District Level during the yearlong Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the Election Commission of India were also distributed to all the winners. Participation Certificates were handed over to all the concerned Heads of Institutions.
Cash prizes amount awarded to winners of various competitions organized in connection with the Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the Election Commission of India are:
Essay writing competition:
UG/PG level – 1st Prize – Rs.10,000/-, 2nd Prize – Rs.7,500/- & 3rd Prize – Rs.5,000/- and 3 (three) Consolation Prizes @ Rs.1,500/- each.
HSS Level – 1st Prizes – Rs.6,000/-, 2nd Prize – Rs.5,000/- & 3rd Prize – Rs.4,000/- and 3 (Three) Consolation Prizes @ Rs.1,000/- each.
UG/PG Level - 1st Prize – Rs.10,000/-, 2nd Prize – Rs.7,500/- & 3rd Prize – Rs.5,000/-.
HSS Level – 1st Prizes – Rs.7,500/-, 2nd Prize – Rs.5,000/- & 3rd Prize – Rs.3,000/-.
Slogan Writing Competition: 1st Prize – Rs.5,000/-, 2nd Prize – Rs.3,000/- & 3rd Prize – Rs.2,000/- and 2 (two) Consolation Prize @ Rs.1,000/- each.
Drawing Competition: - 1st Prize – Rs.5,000/-, 2nd Prize – Rs.3,000/- & 3rd Prize – Rs.2,000/- and 2 (two) Consolation Prize @ Rs.1,000/- each.
Group Singing Competition: - 1st Prize – Rs.10,000/-, 2nd Prize – Rs.8,000/- & 3rd Prize – Rs.6,000/- and 2 (two) Consolation Prizes @ Rs.1,500/- each.
Block Level Competitions: - (at Gambegre, Rongram & Dalu)
Essay writing – 1st Prize – Rs.6,000/-, 2nd Prize – 4,000/- & 3rd Prize – Rs.2,000/-.
Quiz - 1st Prize – Rs.6,000/-, 2nd Prize – 4,000/- & 3rd Prize – Rs.2,000/-
At Ampati Civil Sub Division
Diamond Jubilee Celebration of the Election Commission of India and National Voters’ Day celebration was celebrated at Ampati Civil Sub-Divisional Headquarters with much enthusiasm.
Shri Abhishek Bhagotia, IAS, SDO(C), Ampati organised the rally on 6th October 2010 and thereafter, various competitions such as: - Group Singing, Essay Writing, Quiz, Debate, Slogan Writing and Painting were held from 1st November to 16th November 2010. The 1st National Voters’ Day was celebrated at Chengkom Medik Secondary School, Ampati.
At Dadenggre Civil Sub Division
Shri D.D. Shira, MCS, SDO (C), Dadenggre organised the rally on the 9th November 2010 with an official function at the Sub-Divisional Headquarters. Various competitions were also organised and the 1st National Voters’ Day was celebrated at the Sub-Divisional Headquarters.
Celebration at the polling station by the EROs / AEROs
Besides Celebration in the District Headquarters the Electoral Registration Officers / Assistant Electoral Registration Officers attended their concerned polling stations with largest number of newly registered voters, which were; at
As for the polling station with the largest number of newly registered voters of 50-North Tura (ST) & 51-South Tura (ST) LACs the concerned Electoral Registration Officer Shri A.Ch. Marak, ADC felicitated the said voters at the District Headquarters.
The BDOs & AEROs of Dalu / Gambegre / Selsella / Zikzak / Tikrikilla celebrated the 1st National Voters’ Day at the Block Headquarters. The concerned Block Development Officers were paid a sum of Rs.5000/- (Rupees Five Thousand) each.
All Booth Level Officers (BLOs) celebrated the 1st National Voters’ Day in their concerned polling stations in West Garo Hills District along with Local Leaders / Nokmas / Gaonburahs and electors of the polling station where they felicitated the oldest and the youngest voters of their respective polling areas and distributed the EPICs. The newly registered voters of the polling station were also felicitated with a badge. The BLOs were paid Rs.2500/- (Rupees Two Thousand Five hundred) each for expenses towards the celebration.
The 1st National Voters’ Day of the Election Commission of India on the 25th January 2011 culminated in a grand manner in the district. The entire celebration of the yearlong Diamond Jubilee of the Election Commission of India and the National Voters’ Day was a grand success.