Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, Apr 15:
What do coffee, cookies, food etc. in hotels, masala, clothing etc available in provision stores have to do with the 2014 general elections in Odisha? Nothing, it would appear at first sight to the layman. But that is not quite the way business sees things.
Always quick to cash in on any major event that provides the slightest opportunity to push up sales, restaurants and retail outlets in the Silver City are offering incentives to get young people to vote in the Lok Sabha elections.
Business houses obviously see even an election as polarising as the current one as an opportunity to make a fast buck – and at the same time have the satisfaction of claiming to be part of the greatest democratic exercise on earth. After all, they are promoting voting in the world’s largest democracy.
While Reliance Trend, a retail outlet chain run by the Reliance group is offering 10 percent discount to voters in the age group of 18-35 on every purchase made at its outlets on April 17 and 18, Hotel Grand Residency here is offering a 15 percent discount on bills on polling day.
Similarly, Bharat Masala, a leading spice manufacturer in the state, has offered 10 percent discount on any purchase from its five stores in the city on polling day.
A press release issued by the district election office here on Monday said; “In order to get these discounts, the voters need to carry their photo-identity cardissued by the Election Commission to the stores and restaurants as proof of their age and must show the indelible ink mark on their fingers”.
The move to encourage young voters to exercise their franchise has been approved by the Election Commission, said District Election Officer and Cuttack collector Girish S N.
The Collector said such discount offers in hotels, restaurants and retail outlets for young and first time voters are being provided in other parts of the country as well.
Cuttack Lok Sabha seat has an enrollment of 27,504 new voters in the age group of 18-19 this year.