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    Bottle to Ballot: India Experiments with Unique Election Awareness Campaign

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    The election office in a small tribal-dominated district in central India launched a unique campaign aimed at educating the voters by sticking messages on liquor bottles. The initiative was however rolled back fearing media backlash.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): The idea was short lived but the initiative is now viral and catching attention. The district administration of Jhabua in India's central state of Madhya Pradesh caught up on the innovative but rare idea to install voter education slogans on liquor bottles.

    Jhabua district is a tribal dominated region and all the liquor bottles sold last weekend had an appeal in the Bhili tribal language to vote in large numbers. 

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    "Voting is necessary, press the EVM button to register your vote," read the yellow-blue labels on liquor and beer bottles. 

    The labels clearly said that the appeal has been issued by the district election officer of Jhabua.

    It was executed for a couple of days after which the government deemed it fit to be recalled. 

    "Jhabua district administration in Madhya Pradesh has finally rolled back the direction to liquor shop owners to stick the voter awareness labels on the liquor bottles sold from their counters. It just happened for a few days. The administration has not quoted any reason but the idea has been withdrawn as it was likely to generate some antagonistic media stories and the whole focus of the upcoming assembly elections in Madhya Pradesh could have changed," Pradeep Jaketia senior writer and columnist told Sputnik.

    Madhya Pradesh is scheduled to go to polls in a single phase on November 28 and counting of votes will take place on December 11.

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    The initiative to stick awareness slogans on liquor bottles was put in place under the Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) plan to increase the voting percentage in the elections. 

    "These stickers were provided by the Excise Department. They had asked us to paste it on the liquor bottles, requesting people to vote," a local shopkeeper was quoted as saying by the News Agencies.

    "The decision was taken by the district administration under voter awareness program. But after assessing its pros and cons the idea was rolled back,"  Abhishek Tiwari, Assistant Excise Commissioner told ANI.

     

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    Tags:
    election campaign, public awareness, Liquor, backlash, Central Election Commission, India
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