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From extra marks, free coffee, dosa to data, K'taka devises quirky ways to encourage people to vote

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    Bengaluru, May 12: In the recent past, we saw the Election Commission (EC) ran various campaigns that encouraged voters to vote for the crucial Karnataka Assembly elections 2018. The poll body had roped in well-known cricketer Rahul Dravid and Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar among others to be its brand ambassadors to goad voters to vote in the state elections which took place on Saturday.

    The EC's initiative got support from some unlikely corners like an organisation of various schools, internet cafes and eateries which together offered unique "freebies" to voters to come out in sizeable numbers on the D-Day to make the democratic process a successful exercise.

    dosa

    Popular eateries like Adigas ran campaigns where it promised to serve free coffee to those who voted during the polls. In order to enjoy a cup of free coffee, all you need to do is to go to the eatery and show your inked finger. One eatery in Bengaluru gave free dosas to patrons who had voted. Internet cafes also gave free browsing access to tech-savvy people if they had voted.

    According to News18, cyber cafes and food joints in Bengaluru offered attractive discounts to people who exercised their franchise. "In the past too, free dosas in the shape of Kannada letters and requests like 'Nanna matha nanna hakku' (my vote, my right), 'Ellaroo mathadana maadi' (please all of you vote), 'Praja prabhutva bhadrapadisi' (strengthen the democracy) were distributed among voters with an aim to spread awareness about elections," said a report by Firstpost.

    What left everyone open-mouthed was the step taken by a group which runs several schools in the state. The school body announced to give free marks to students whose parents had voted.

    The Karnataka Associated Management of English-medium Schools (KAMS), which has got more than 3,000 member schools in the state, has decided to award extra marks to students whose parents have voted, stated CNN-News18. According to reports, a student can gain a maximum of four marks, as each vote will get them two marks, for the academic year 2018-19.

    Now, tell us who will not vote when enticing "freebies" are on avail? Karnataka witnessed around 56 per cent voting till 3 pm. The voter turnout in the last Assembly election held in the state in 2013 was 71.45 per cent. The poll panel hopes the voting percentage would surpass 75 per cent this time.

    A total of 224 seats are up for grabs in the Karnataka elections. However, on Saturday, polling took place for only 222 seats. The voting in the two constituencies-- Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Jayanagar--both in Bengaluru--will take place later. The Election Commission deferred polling to the Rajarajeshwari Nagar constituency over "fake" electoral identity cards that were discovered on Tuesday.

    Polling in the constituency will now be held on May 28 and counting will take place on May 31. However, the results of the rest of 222 seats will be out on May 15. Polling had earlier been countermanded in the Jayanagar constituency following the death of the sitting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator BN Vijay Kumar a few days ago.

    The election in Karnataka has been termed as a three-cornered contest between the Congress, the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular).

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