Bhutan delegation impressed with electoral practices in Gujarat


A delegation from Bhutan, which is on a visit to Gujarat to study the election process, is impressed with the peaceful conduct of Assembly polls in the state and hope to take home some electoral lessons.

Bhutan Deputy Governor Chewang Jurmi said, "We have witnessed quite and peaceful elections here. The entire process is very well coordinated and is going on smoothly."

Wishing to replicate the good electoral practices during polls in the Himalayan Kingdom, Jurmi said priority given to senior citizens and women for voting is a good move which can result in voter turnout increase.

"Priority to senior citizens and women to exercise their franchise is a step in the right direction," he said.

The door-to-door distribution of voter slips to electors is another electoral practice that has caught the attention of the 10-member delegation.

While, in Bhutan, voters are frisked before they enter the polling station, there is no-frisking of electors in India. It is another voter-friendly process that the delegation from Himalayan Kingdom is interested in implementing in their country.

Jurmi said voters have the option to exercise their franchise even without Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) by showing any of the mandatory 15 documents which is not the case in Bhutan, where one cannot vote if one does not possess the Voter Photo Identity Card.

The delegation also expressed their satisfaction over the dry day (no alcohol) rule during polling periods (December 13-17).

The delegation from Bhutan comprised four deputy governors, Brigadier Singye Dorji of the Royal Bhutan Army, two Electoral Registration Officers (EROs), a police official, two Majors (one each from Army and Police).

A member of the delegation said they were totally associated with the election duty in Bhutan unlike officers here, who have to double up in various capacities as state administrative officers and poll duty officers.

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