The low voter turnout in the past three municipal elections has prompted the State Election Commission to look out for new ways to reach out to the masses. For the upcoming municipal elections scheduled for April, the Commission is especially planning to target the youth to ensure better voter turnout.
The Commission is planning to organise marathons, seminars, nature walks, and general awareness campaigns to ensure better participation of people. “We want to ensure that people understand the importance of their vote and use it judiciously. We have chalked out an awareness campaign for this which will start soon,” said Rakesh Mehta, State Election commissioner. According to sources, the campaign will also focus on south Delhi colonies whose residents generally refrain from casting their votes.In the last municipal elections held in 2007, Delhi recorded a poor turn-out of 42 %. The Commission is hoping to reach the target of at least 60 per cent this year.
“We have noticed that for the Delhi Assembly elections, people show more interest than the municipal elections. The voter turnout for assembly elections was 57 per cent. But MCD elections are very important as the civic agency caters to the day-to-day requirements of the people. We will highlight all that through our campaign,” said a senior Commission official. Sources further said that low interest of people in the elections many a times lead to selection of an individual who is from a different locality and hence not attuned to the needs to the people who belong to that area.
A meeting will be held with outdoor advertisers to chalk out a plan for publicity and awareness campaign. “This is the first time that elections for three municipal corporations will be held simultaneously. Our awareness campaign will be in tandem with this development,” added the official. Elections will be held for 272 wards in April.