On a cool, overcast morning, almost 200 Delhiites were overcome by the will to change the city for the better. And they ran from the gates of Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium to India Gate to prove it.On Friday, residents of Delhi participated in a marathon that sought to spread awareness about voting in the municipal elections to be held on Sunday.
The marathon was a collective initiative of Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs), the Punjab Regiment, sportspersons and residents from every corner of the city."This is a historic election as it is the first time that Delhiites will be voting for a trifurcated MCD. The response from RWAs has been very encouraging. People should understand the importance of voting because ground-level problems can be fixed only by the corporations," said Rakesh Mehta, state election commissioner.
The marathon was also supported by sportspersons of national repute, who claimed that people needed to understand that it was their vote only that could bring about a significant difference.
“We keep complaining about the city and its problems. But when it comes to voting, we stay home. Unless we vote, we’ll never find the city in safe hands. Citizens must treat this as an opportunity to exercise their right,” said Avinash Singh, a hockey player.
Students also came with posters and slogans highlighting the relevance of the upcoming elections.
“This marathon is a tremendous initiative to bring people out of their homes and inspire them to vote,” said Payal Jain, a resident of Kamla Nagar.
With only 108 FIRs being registered, Delhi election commissioner said the run-up to the elections this time had been much more peaceful than other years. He also said that the city must aim for a higher voter turnout this year.
“We really hope that the voter turnout increases this time. In 2007, it was 42% and this time we are targeting a figure well above 65%. Citizens must understand that it is their responsibility to vote,” added Mehta.