Patna's Festival of Democracy: Citizens Return Home to Vote

Sheema Fatima, an assistant professor in Mumbai, and many others returned to Patna to vote in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. With Patna Sahib and Patliputra constituencies in focus, voters emphasize the importance of participating in the democratic process, echoing sentiments that every vote counts.

PTI | Patna | Updated: 31-05-2024 16:31 IST | Created: 31-05-2024 16:31 IST
Patna's Festival of Democracy: Citizens Return Home to Vote
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''Every vote counts... this is a crucial election,'' asserts Sheema Fatima, an assistant professor in Mumbai, who like several others has come home to Patna to exercise their franchise in the Lok Sabha polls on June 1.

Some planned their travel well in advance and landed in the city a few days ago while others arrived Friday morning or will be reaching during the day to participate in the ''festival of democracy''.

The district of Patna has two parliamentary constituencies -- Patna Sahib and Pataliputra -- both of which will go to polls along with six other seats in the state in the seventh and final phase of the general election.

''They say it is a festival of democracy and in many ways, it is. But it is an important exercise that allows you to express your voice, in line with the values of citizenship and participatory democracy,'' the assistant professor at the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies (NMIMS), Mumbai, said.

''Every vote counts,'' Fatima, who arrived in Patna a few days ago, said. ''This is a very crucial general election. And it is important to vote, so I am here... I have been out of Patna for a long time for higher education and then work. I had come to vote in the general election in 2019 and the 2020 Bihar Assembly polls as well,'' she told PTI here.

Fatima will be exercising her franchise along with her mother in the Patna Sahib constituency on Saturday.

The BJP's incumbent MP and former Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is seeking a second term from the crucial Patna Sahib seat, while the INDIA bloc has fielded Anshul Avijit, the grandson of former railway minister Babu Jagjiwan Ram and son of former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, on a Congress ticket.

In Patliputra, the BJP has locked horns with the RJD. Lalu Yadav's daughter Misa Bharati seeking to wrest the seat from Ram Kripal Yadav.

Diptanshu Sinha, 27, an architect who moved to Gurugram last year for work, arrived here on Friday morning.

''I had booked train tickets in advance,'' he said, adding, ''It's just one vote but I hope it will add to the collective effort to make my city better where development and heritage preservation will go hand-in-hand and not just blind concrete construction we are seeing today in Patna.'' For Sinha, education, health and sensitive urban planning are the key issues in this election.

Several others who have also arrived in the city to take part in the election largely concurred that ''if we don't vote, we have no right to crib about governance issues''.

Anamika Priyadarshini, who was born and raised in Patna but works with a US-based organisation in Delhi, said ''I will be voting tomorrow as well.'' ''I am working from home today and have a late-evening flight for Patna from Delhi. I feel this election is extremely important and I want to be part of this process,'' she told PTI over the phone.

Priyadarshini studied at the St John's Convent High School in Patna and later, moved to the US for higher studies. She came back to Patna afterwards and recently, moved to Delhi for a new job.

''For me, coming over to my city to vote is doing something ethically right. It's just one vote and things are not in my hand when it comes to the larger picture, but I want to look at myself in the mirror with a clear conscience that I did my bit,'' she said.

At the Patna airport's arrival lounge, the Election Commission has put up a tableau depicting the importance of the election with the caption ''Nothing Like Voting - I Vote for Sure''.

The tableau also sports a banner that reads ''Chunav ka Parv Desh ka Garv'' and ''Celebrate the Biggest Festival of Democracy''.

Patna's district magistrate-cum-district election officer has been appealing to the people of the city residing outside to return and exercise their franchise.

Several incentives have also been announced which include discounts for voters at many restaurants or rebates at a famous confectionery shop in the city on polling day to motivate the electorate.

Over 43 lakh voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the two constituencies in the district, according to official data shared by authorities.

On Thursday evening, a set of 7,500 earthen lamps were lit on the banks of the river Ganga at Digha Ghat and a human chain was also formed to appeal to people to vote.

The Patna Municipal Corporation organised this and 100 earthen lamps each from all 75 wards were brought in, along with a voter from each of the wards, according to officials.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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