Jhabua district administration put stickers on alcohol bottles urging people to vote.
The district administration in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh had planned to put two lakh stickers on liquor bottles "to raise awareness" about the importance of voting. However, the plan has now been cancelled.
The liquor dealers ended up putting the administration's stickers on the bottle in such a way that it hid the statutory warning about the harmful effects of alcohol.
The stickers, published in the local dialect, read – 'Vote jarur nakhwa nu, hamu sankalp karayi se' (We have to vote, we have taken this oath). The district administration is putting these stickers on houses, vehicles and ration cards.
Jhabua district collector Ashish Saxena said "There may be a lot of reasons behind the idea to put stickers on liquor bottles with voting awareness messages. But I have now asked the excise department to remove the stickers from liquor bottles. To create awareness about elections, we have painted the walls of over two lakh houses with such messages. We will paste such stickers on ration cards as well".
The opposition Congress and the Jay Adivasi Yuva Sangathan have alleged a violation of model code of conduct. "The model code of conduct has been violated in an attempt to influence voters. The matter should be probed and strict action should be taken," said Congress spokesperson Durgesh Sharma.
Jhabua district is located on the western end of Madhya Pradesh and it shares a border with both Gujarat and Rajasthan. According to the 2011 census, Scheduled Tribes form 87 per cent of the district's population. It has three assembly constituencies – Jhabua, Tandla and Petlawad. All the seats are reserved for candidates belonging to the Scheduled Tribes. In the 2013 assembly elections, BJP had won Jhabua and Petlawad and an independent candidate won in Tandla.
However in 2015, the Congress won a surprise victory in the by-elections to the Ratlam Lok Sabha constituencies, which includes these three assembly segments. Its candidate and a prominent tribal face of the party, Kantilal Bhuria defeated BJP's Nirmala Bhuria by nearly 89,000 votes.
Voting will take place in all 230 assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh on November 28.