Authorities go all in hope of ethical polling, improving voting percentage

  • Anshu Seth, Hindustan Times, LUDHIANA
  • Updated: Apr 29, 2014 21:14 IST

More than 8 lakh text messages have been sent to people living in Ludhiana parliamentary constituency as an initiative of the Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) team to create awareness towards ethical voting for parliamentary elections on April 30.

Less sleep, more stress in the midst of long-working hours in the field and followed by closed-door meetings had the young and the experienced officials and employees giving their best to make SVEEP a success saga in Ludhiana.

Besides jingles at traffic signals, innovative banners carrying illustrations or celebrities' pictures were put up to motivate masses to vote. These include the one showing the Ghajini avatar of Aamir Khan asking the people to remember to vote. Interesting cartoons, which emphasise ethical voting and are funny at the same time, besides making an impact on the mind are a huge draw. Similarly interesting slogans that impel a person to act viz.
'You Can't Sit Out' have been used.

The SVEEP Project for Ludhiana district revolved around a planned strategy for targeted approach towards meeting the various gaps that exist in the field of registration and voting, besides spreading awareness about informed, intimidation- and inducement-free voting under the broader framework of civic education.

For example, the polling stations that had lowest polling in 2009 elections were focused upon by the officials/staff working on multiple aspects of polls. Some polling stations in Ludhiana West, South, East, Gill and North had witnessed lowest polling that even went down to 20% against the polling percentage of 64.77% in the parliamentary elections of 2009.

District election officer (DEO) Rajat Agarwal motivated the staff on poll duty at every step, thereby keeping them in high spirits. “It was a great initiative by the ECI and we have tried our best to create awareness with a hope that people observe April 30 as a duty day and come out in big numbers to vote,” Agarwal said.

Several events like a ramp show “Volunteers for better India” with prominent citizens modelling to promote voting, celebration of poll day as 'kartvya divas' or poll duty day, Raahgiri Day, a hydrogen balloon at DC office reading “vote for your better future” were some initiatives that were taken up under SVEEP.

SVEEP Coordinator Dr Kanu Thind said, “Despite having allocated the duties, the DEO participated in every programme in addition to giving ideas that kept the teams motivated.”

Ludhiana municipal corporation (LMC), which is always in news for wrong reasons, was appreciated by the DEO for having arranged for sponsors for banners/hoardings, t-shirts and caps carrying slogans for ethical voting.

In yet another innovative way to communicate, the OPD slips of the government hospitals, health centres and dispensaries were stamped with the message for exercising the right to vote.

District Nehru Yuva Kendra successfully carried out the responsibility to rope in 475 clubs to propagate against use of drugs in lieu of votes. So as to involve youth at every step, colleges, institutes, universities and clubs were roped in for various events and awareness programs on social media.

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