You wouldn’t expect a district collector’s office to tweet. But that’s exactly what officials are doing.
Hoping to woo young voters ahead of the October 13 Assembly polls, the Mumbai City Collectors’ office has decided to approach them through a new medium and are posting on Twitter (twitter.com/mumbaielection) links to websites where they can register as voters or sign up for the new photo voter ID cards.
The Collectorate — which is the default District Election Officer — is the first government body in India to sign up on the microblogging site.
And its e-campaign is being managed by 23-year-old Tweeter Yashraj Akashi, who has a Master’s in Commerce and a background in brand-building.
Akashi has also created a group on social networking site Facebook for the Collectorate, called ‘I want a voters card’.
Here, voters can find out how to register online, identify the closest registration office or even check out the latest in election news.
Both efforts were launched two weeks ago.
While the Twitter ID has 283 followers, the Facebook group has 253 members.
“The Collector wanted to approach youngsters though the medium they are most comfortable with,” said Akashi. “We opted for Twitter and Facebook because this is where many youngsters spend their free time.”
If you’re not on Twitter or Facebook, don’t despair. You can just log on to your gmail id and chat online with officials at the district collector’s office.
“One of us is constantly on firstname.lastname@example.org, chatting with people and sorting out their election-related queries,” said deputy district collector Sanjay Bhagwat, who is often logged in himself.
Meanwhile, brick-and-mortar efforts like hoardings, pamphlets and visits to colleges continue as the Collectorate tries to up the registration numbers — which have already risen by 55,000 in the island city over the last four months.
About 50 hoardings have been put up across south Mumbai.
“We have also set a target of 40 colleges by September 25, the last date for registration,” said Akashi, who is also part of this special ‘task force’. “We have visited 15 already and got a tremendous response.”