From a certificate of participation as souvenir to food discount coupons, the Chandigarh administration is contemplating several new initiatives to motivate first-time, young voters to exercise their franchise in the coming Lok Sabha elections.
UT chief electoral officer-cum-home secretary Anil Kumar said the major focus of the coming enrollment drive was on young voters. "To all those debutant youngsters who will get themselves enrolled and exercise their vote in the coming elections, we will give souvenir certificates of having exercised their democratic right and also some food discount. We will either give them discount coupon or tie up with restaurants where debutant voters can avail discount after showing their forefinger marked with the indelible ink."
In Chandigarh, 53% population is currently enrolled as voters. "Our recent survey that shows that 8-9% of the population has votes made in Punjab, Haryana and other states," he said. As about 63-65% population is estimated to be eligible, the focus is now on the 3-4% who have not enrolled yet.
Kumar also held a meeting with principals of various educational institutes besides bank officials to co-ordinate efforts for the new enrollment drive, whose exact dates are not yet decided. Principals of colleges were requested to appoint "campus ambassadors" to identify and help enroll eligible students. "Soon, Form 6 required for enrollment will be available at all banks and post offices in Chandigarh. They will also display banners at the branches as well as ATMs showing information of booth level officers," Kumar added.