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Help other voters choose

delhi Updated: Apr 27, 2009 23:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Don’t just sit there and crib about corrupt politicians and incompetent governments. These elections, you can make a difference by not just voting for the right candidate but also joining the campaign to help people — your friends, neighbours, colleagues, even your old aunt — make an informed choice and get them out in big numbers on election day on May 7.

From April 28, Janaagraha, a non-profit organisation working on urban governance, in partnership with Hindustan Times, will mobilise citizen volunteers to conduct a door-to-door drive to get more people out to vote.

The booth-level volunteers (BLV) will cover a polling booth of their choice, ask voters to not only come out and vote but also make informed voting decisions after evaluating all candidates.

“The BLVs will be given one-hour orientation on Janaagraha’s ‘One Billion Voters’ campaign and how to assist voters in finding their names in voter lists and also the candidates contesting from their constituencies. They will be given a tool kit containing a guideline manual and flyers stating that it is a non-partisan initiative to facilitate informed civic participation among Indian citizens,” said Suman R, a member of Janaagraha Centre For Citizenship and Democracy.

Volunteers will have to fill in the polling booth address and the election date in the flyers they hand over to each house they cover. In the next five days, Janaagraha will conduct one-hour orientation sessions for BLVs at Rohini Sector-11, Amity University in Noida, Paschim Vihar, Laxmi Nagar and Adchini.

Suman said their similar initiatives in Bangalore and Mumbai were a great success. About 150 volunteers each, mainly youngsters in Bangalore and senior citizens and resident welfare association members in Mumbai, had registered as BLVs for the Go Out to Vote campaign.

Delhi will elect its Lok Sabha members on May 7. The Capital has around 1.10 crore registered voters, of whom approximately four lakh are first-time voters and almost 40 lakh are aged below 30. In last year’s Assembly elections, about 57 per cent Delhiites had voted.

“BLVs will be sent the voter list of a polling booth of their choice by email. They can print out the list and go door to door,” said Suman.

BLVs can complement this with a few hours of reminder phone calls and by setting up a One Billion Voters desk 100 metres from the polling station.