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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Dec 2014

Rock the youth and get the vote!ajay

KV Lakshmana , Hindustan Times  Chennai, March 26, 2014
First Published: 19:31 IST(26/3/2014) | Last Updated: 16:51 IST(4/4/2014)

The Election Commission is rocking the poll scene, and how.

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From performance by amateur musical bands to flash mobs, the poll panel is coming up with innovative ideas to woo the urban youth to the polling booths.

At a swanky mall in Chennai, a local rock band – BATT – belted out hit after hit by Bob Dylan, Freddie Mercury, Deff Leppard and Dream Theatre on Sunday, as a sizeable crowd swayed to the melodies.

"It was a happy accident," was how Berty Ashley, the lead player of rocker of BATT, described the coming together of the young band and the EC.

"Someone told the officials about a quiz on Indian elections I had done and they asked me if we could do a gig at the mall where the EC had mounted an exhibition and display of EVM machines. The Sunday evening show was like a sellout," said Ashley who is a molecular biologist (research student).

R Abdul, an election commission official, who was present at the mall, said with so many young people in one place, it was a good opportunity to spread the message on the importance of voting. "We thought of rock music to attract youth as this section (18 to 30) was abysmal in voting, with just 40% turning up. Going by the crowd response, things should be better."

 
Tamil Nadu chief electoral officer (CEO) Praveen Kumar said that apart from the rock show, the panel was also planning flash mobs at malls or the beach.  "You cannot complain about anything if you do not vote," was the one message that was driven home.


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