Millennium Post (Kolkata)

From ‘Gendu’ to ‘Baghu’ — Bengal’s animals encouragin­g people to vote


KOLKATA: From ‘Gendu’ to ‘Baghu’ — this election season, the animals of Bengal are reportedly encouragin­g people to exercise their democratic rights, besides guiding them at polling stations.

The District Elections Sections across the state are reportedly using various mascots to draw voters to the polling booths, and most of them are animals. The Alipurduar district has come up with ‘Gendu’, inspired by the rhinoceros of Dooars, for the purpose. In Cooch Behar district, it is ‘Mohanbao’ — a turtle who guides people at the polling booths.

Bengal tiger ‘Baghu’ is urging the people of South 24-Parganas district, the home to Sunderbans, not to miss their chance to participat­e in the democratic process. In the Darjeeling hills, a red panda is doing the job.

“Bengal’s rich cultural diversity is highlighte­d through our campaign, aiming to motivate voters to participat­e in the electoral process,” an election official said.

“Instead of formal language, we are trying to reach out to voters with characters that are closer to their hearts.

We believe the effect will be much more,” she added. The election mascot of Jalpaiguri district is ‘Teesta’, a girl named after the river which is the lifeline of the region.

In the Kolkata Uttar constituen­cy, ‘Tenida’ — a fictional resident of the Potoldanga area motivates first-time voters to exercise their franchise.

The ‘Vote Gopal’ mascot of Nadia is based on the immortal court jester Gopal Bhar of medieval Bengal. The comic strip character of ‘Batul the Great’ is encouragin­g voters of Howrah, the birthplace of his creator Narayan Debnath.

In the coastal district of Purba Medinipur, a character based on crabs is promoting voter turnout, while in Hooghly, the Jagannath Rath of Mahesh is accompanyi­ng the

Election Commission’s messages for voters in hoardings and posters.

‘Ghotoknath’, based on the famed terracotta horses of Bankura, is urging people to cast their votes, besides reminding them of the district’s cultural heritage.

“Such initiative­s raise awareness among the people not only about elections but also about their area’s heritage, culture and natural resources,” said Anjana Brahma, a professor of Bengali at KK Das College in Kolkata.


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India