While social networking sites have become a battle ground for political parties in run-up to the Lok Sabha elections, the Hoshiarpur administration has put social media in to use for the purpose of sensitising voters about the democratic process.
The facebook page, HSPLS/2014, has been created to bring about awareness among the public, especially first-time voters, about the significance of
"Given the huge potential of social media to influence the youth, we thought of using it to encourage them to become part of the electoral process. The initiative comes under the Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) project," said deputy commissioner-cum- chief electoral officer Tanu Kashyap.
"All election-related activities and important information would be updated on the page from time to time," she added. There would be valuable discussions on valid topics to make users active participants in the democratic process, Kashyap said.
"Apart from that, we are also carrying out awareness campaigns in colleges to ensure maximum voter turnout on the polling day. In the past, Hoshiarpur district has registered low poll percentage and we want to buck that trend," she said. Kashyap said, "We invite people to share their views, suggestions and even complaints, if any, to enable us conduct the elections in a fair and free manner."
She revealed that the polling officials would also make direct contact with the students by visiting colleges. "We will not only prod them to get enrolled, if not done so far, but also to come out on April 30 to cast vote. The officials will also visit low voter turnout polling stations and exhort electors to vote," she said. "People would also be educated on ethical voting and NOTA (None of the Above) option."
The DC has also formed a WhatsApp group of assistant returning officers (AROs) of the district to discuss election-related issues. The AROs, in turn, interact with supervisors and block-level officers via email or SMS.