Anandpur Sahib (Punjab) [India], June 12:  In a pioneering effort to integrate environmental sustainability with democratic processes, Anandpur Sahib, a parliamentary constituency in Punjab, has established a new standard for eco-friendly elections. This groundbreaking initiative was led by Dr. Heera Lal IAS, a distinguished 2009-batch IAS officer, the author of popular book ‘Dynamic DM’ from the Uttar Pradesh cadre, who is known for his dynamic and forward-thinking leadership. 

The Green Election initiative, launched on May 17, 2024, marked a significant step towards promoting ecological consciousness among voters. As part of this initiative, saplings were distributed to first-time voters, senior citizens, and people with disabilities at every polling booth. In total, 47,266 saplings were handed out across 2,068 polling booths, symbolizing a commitment to nurturing both democracy and the environment. The campaign also focused on reducing single-use plastics throughout the electoral process. 

Dr. Lal, along with his dedicated team of local authorities and community groups, worked tirelessly from May 14 to May 16 to ensure the campaign’s success. The initiative targeted Anandpur Sahib’s 1.73 million voters across nine assembly constituencies, including Rupnagar, S.A.S. Nagar, SBS Nagar and Hosiyarpur. 

Besides the uninhibited, unhindered and goal-oriented approach of Dr. Heera Lal, the campaign’s success was bolstered by key contributors, including Sri Sandeep Diwan (Police Observer), Smt. Shilpi Sinha (Expenditure Observer), Dr. Preeti Yadav (RO/DEO/DC Rupnagar), Sri Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa (DEO/DC SBS Nagar), and Ms. Aashika Jain (DEO/DC SAS Nagar). Their collective efforts galvanized political parties, poll officials, and the general public to avoid single-use plastics and adopt green practices.

The 2024 General Election in Anandpur Sahib saw a notable increase in voter turnout, defying the downward trend observed in other constituencies. Six polling booths recorded over 80% voter turnout, with Manguwal booth achieving an impressive 89.5% while none in 2019 election. Furthermore, 38 out of 173 model booths—including green, pink, youth, physically weak, and disabled booths—experienced an eye-catching average increase of 8.46% in voter turnout. 

In contrast, other constituencies in Punjab reported a decline in voter turnout: Sangrur by 7.77%, Ferozpur by 5.45%, and Fatehgarh Sahib by 5.16%. The Green Election campaign in Anandpur Sahib effectively countered this trend, underscoring the initiative’s positive impact. As a result, four assemblies out of nine witnessed/recorded more turnout than 2019 election.

The Green Election initiative in Anandpur Sahib, under the leadership of Dr. Heera Lal, exemplifies the power of innovative thinking and community collaboration in promoting both democratic participation and environmental sustainability. This model sets a precedent for other constituencies, demonstrating how targeted efforts can lead to significant and positive change.

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