The woman who saved Delhi from Pappus
With 53% voter turnout, Delhi not only outdid other metros like Mumbai and Bangalore, it also created a record of achieving the highest poll percentage in the last 20 years. If you believe Satbir Silas Bedi, Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and the brain behind the catchy Pappu Can’t Vote campaign, it is not merely the ad that resulted in the high polling percentage. Moushumi Das Gupta reports.india Updated: May 08, 2009 00:44 IST
On Thursday, when 53 per cent voters turned out to choose their leader, Delhi not only outdid other metros like Mumbai and Bangalore, it also created a record of achieving the highest poll percentage in the last 20 years.
So, how did Delhi achieve this feat? If you believe Satbir Silas Bedi, Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and the brain behind the catchy Pappu Can’t Vote campaign, it is not merely the ad that resulted in the high polling percentage.
“Much of the credit also goes to my colleagues and staff. Like the Block Level Officers who went to each and every residential colony to ensure citizens get themselves registered for voting,” she said.
The groundwork to ensure better polling had started much before, Bedi said.
“Election management in metro cities is a different ballgame. A team of 80 officials has been constantly on the job since October 2007 — revising and updating electoral rolls. Finally the dedication of my staff paid off,” she said.
Bedi said the Pappu Can’t Vote campaign also hit the right chord with voters, especially young voters. “The campaign had a high recall value. It touched a chord with Delhiites psyche. It was not a preachy campaign but very subtly motivated voters. Through radio, television and newspapers we were constantly hammering it in people’s mind,” she said.
“The awareness created by the campaign was so much that the call centre of the CEO office received more than 2,000 calls per day with voters wanted to clear their voting-related queries”, she added.
“I am very happy today. Common citizens have been calling up our office since evening saying they saw our ad and were motivated to vote,” added Bedi.
After the gruelling session that lasted over a month, she is now looking forward to relaxing with her family. “Though we live in the same house I hardly spoke to my son. Now I am looking forward to some quality time with him before counting day on May 16,” she said.
First Published: May 08, 2009 00:36 IST