Please vote and do not waste your franchise. This is the message the Chandigarh election department hopes to drill in the residents through an extensive campaign highlighting the importance of the vote.
In a multi-pronged strategy, the department has tied-up with theatre groups and social bodies. These will perform across the city to spread the message of the importance of the vote.
Theatre Age, an NGO which works for uplift of slum children, has been roped in as one of the groups that will try and create a connect with the voters, persuading them to exercise their right.
Zulfikar Khan, the head of the NGO, said, "Our performances will focus on creating awareness on the importance of voting. We will also send out a message that no resident should accept liquor and other freebies from politicians."
The group's performances will also incorporate training on the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).
As the second part of the plan, the education department has been asked to conduct slogan-writing competitions. The best slogans would be used during the campaign.
The department will also run a parallel campaign on local radio stations, cinema halls and newspapers.
Joint chief electoral officer Tilak Raj said that the election department was working hard to ensure maximum turnout. "The idea is to make people aware of how valuable their vote is. Most voters use the polling day as holiday and are not even present in the city. Our efforts are aimed at changing this trend."
The 2009 parliamentary elections saw 64% turnout and the administration targets 90% this time. The election department has laid a lot of emphasis on attracting in first-time voters aged between 18 and 19 years, estimated at around 20,000 in number.
According to the commission's final publication of summary revision rolls, Chandigarh has around 5.8 lakh voters, up from 5.24 lakh in 2009.
The department has also roped in few hotels and restaurants that will offer discount up to 50% to those who vote. Tilak Raj maintained that they were in talks with more hotels for participation in the drive.
The department also plans to set up a helpline number for redressal of complaints from voters.
Additional director environment PJS Dadwal has been appointed as the nodal officer of the service.
Around 500 polling stations would be set up across the city for the lone Lok Sabha seat in Chandigarh.
" Hiring theater groups and social bodies to perform on the importance of vote
" Training on the use of electronic voting machines
" Education department to conduct slogan-writing competitions
" Hotels and restaurants to offer discounts to those who vote