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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

EC takes the Facebook route to motivate young voters

Rajesh Kumar Singh, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, June 25, 2013
First Published: 09:41 IST(25/6/2013) | Last Updated: 09:44 IST(25/6/2013)

As there is less than a year left for the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission, which had launched a massive awareness campaign to help raise the voter turnout to above 60% in the assembly election last year, has launched a page on the social media site Facebook to motive young voters, especially, the first-timers, to exercise their franchise.

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The idea has been conceptualised because voter turnout in UP is still not satisfactory when compared to some other states which have recorded 70% to 80% participation in recent years.

The brainchild of Umesh Sinha, chief electoral officer, UP, the Facebook page — Proud to be a Voter — will not only tell voters about the importance of their vote, but also educate them about their rights.

An online creative contest, besides slogan, quiz, street plays and script writing competitions, will be organised to reach out to the youth. The details of the best three winners would be displayed on the Facebook page. The page will be also used to encourage voters to share their problems and give suggestions on various election issues.

Sinha said the aim was to develop a synergy among the stakeholders. With urban apathy being a major concern, the Election Commission wants to motivate the voters through creativity. Social media was considered the best option for this because of its youth appeal. Information about election would be available on the page. The voters’ views would be given space and their grievances would be redressed on priority basis, he said.

The National Cadet Corps, National Service Scheme, Resident Welfare Association and the media too would be involved in the awareness campaign. Sinha said greater participation in the election would ensure a strong democracy.

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