Bhopal Voters Win Diamond Rings In Bid To Boost Turnout. Except, No Diamonds

Bhopal Voters Win Diamond Rings In Bid To Boost Turnout. Except, No Diamonds

Officials in Bhopal had organised a lucky draw to attract more voters and raise turnout

Bhopal:

To address the problem of low voter turnout, officials in the Bhopal Lok Sabha constituency came up with an innovative solution.

They declared that on polling day, a lucky draw would be held every two hours, giving attractive rewards to those who come out to vote.

Four lucky winners were given diamond rings as the bumper prize. But the whole exercise turned out to be a series of comical errors.

First, the rings came in small boxes labelled ‘Lucky Jewellers, Bairagarh’. When NDTV spoke to its owner, Mahesh Dadlani, he said they don’t sell diamonds. The winners confirmed they got rings made of “American diamonds”, and when NDTV started calling officials, in a matter of few hours the rings made of American diamonds were exchanged from “real diamonds”.

The district administration, along with the traders’ association, had decided to gift diamond rings to prevent low voter turnout, and motivate more people to vote in the third phase.

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“I do have a diamond business. These were not my rings. These boxes were given to the district administration by Vasudev Wadhwani, former president of the Textile Traders’ Association. I have nothing to do with it. I was only asked for boxes, which I gave,” Mr Dadlani told NDTV.

When NDTV spoke to Mr Wadhwani, he said they were American diamonds. “The collector had called a meeting of Bhopal Chambers of Commerce and Industries and asked us to provide gift items which could be given to voters through lottery, to increase voting percentage,” he added.

Ayaan Khan, one of the winners of the lucky draw, said he voted at the Hamidia College booth. “After voting, my father had got my name written in the lucky draw. After an hour, when we got a call, we could not believe it,” he said.

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“They gave us a ring then. But today suddenly the district administration team came and took the first ring, and gave another one. The team said the certificate was not given with the first ring, hence the certificate is being given with the new ring. Later, someone told us the earlier ring was fake,” Mr Khan said.

Bhopal collector Kaushlendra Vikram Singh said their objective was to increase the voting percentage.

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“Those from whom we took the rings have mistakenly brought American diamond rings. When we received complaints from two-three places that American diamond rings were given to them by mistake, we directed the team immediately and then asked for replacement of the rings. Those who had received the American diamond rings by mistake have now been handed over the diamond rings along with the certificate. The original ring has been handed over to everyone,” he said.

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