Do you grumble at the sight of a pothole or a garbage dump? If yes, what have you done about it? Some city youngsters have taken to the streets with plays, posters and drills saying that those who don’t vote in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi elections, have no right to crib.
In the last civic polls in 2007, only 40% of Delhiites voted. Youngsters are trying to improve the numbers this time. Ayush Gupta, 20, an engineering student and the founder of the group, Cabbage Heads that comprises students in the age group of 18-22, has kicked off a campaign, Get up and vote, to spread awareness among young voters that their votes can make a difference.
“Youngsters are getting alienated from the political system. We often complain about crowded parking lots, lack of proper government health infrastructure, traffic chaos, etc without realising that we have the power to change all this by casting our vote,” says Gupta. Carrying posters with slogans such as Vote For Change, Quit complaining about Delhi, and Your Vote Is Your Voice! Speak Up!, the group walks up to people in malls and markets, asking them to vote.
Another campaign, Oye Dilli - Open Your Eyes Dilli, launched by a set of college students, urges people to vote. Inspired by a documentary highlighting a neglected Delhi, they checked the city’s awareness. “We prepared a questionnaire and got people to tell us how aware they were of the responsibilities of their councillors. To involve more people, we launched our campaign on Facebook,” says Wamiq Zia, a student of Jamia Milia Islamia. The group of 30 members has also performed street plays titled, Dilli Dabar, and Jaisi Janta Waisi Sarkar.
Few students of Delhi University’s St Stephen’s college too, are doing their bit. Ahona Palchaudhuri, a second year student says, “Around 7 to 8 of us set up a mock election booth in the campus, and we put a symbolic black mark on the index finger of those who said they will vote.”
Hindustan Times has also been urging people to cast their vote through its ‘My Delhi, My Vote’ campaign. Apart from running creatives such as ‘Please don’t vote if parking problems do not bother you,’ in the newspaper, hoardings have also been put up across Delhi. Also, numerous communities and groups on elections have come up on Facebook, and MCD elections has been trending on Twitter for a while now.
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