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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Each one, preach one: Mumbai college students’ agenda to increase voter turnout

Students, especially from the NSS, hold rallies, street plays to spread awareness

mumbai Updated: Apr 29, 2019 01:29 IST
Shreya Bhandary
Shreya Bhandary
Hindustan Times
A rally held by NSS unit of RD National College, Bandra.
A rally held by NSS unit of RD National College, Bandra. (HT)

From street plays and processions to human chains and awareness drivers, students, especially from the National Service Scheme (NSS), did it all to get voters to step out and vote on Monday.

“A number of our students and NSS volunteers participated in an awareness rally last week to reach out to as many citizens as possible, especially first-time voters, to encourage them to cast their vote. We hope the city surpasses last time’s figure,” said Vijendra Shekhawat, from RD National College, Bandra. Students from neighbouring colleges, including MMK College and Rizvi College, also participated in the program.

Among students and colleges, Mumbai university vice-chancellor Suhas Pednekar has also been seen sharing messages and videos with principals of all affiliated colleges, encouraging everyone to vote for their right to be heard on Monday.

Many institutes also included the ongoing elections in their curriculum and made it a part of regular lectures for benefit of students. “We realised that just helping them register to vote will not be enough because most students were not even aware of political parties and sitting candidates in their residential area. Our team of teachers and students went beyond textbooks to understand the elections,” said Sobhana Vasudevan, principal of RA Podar College, Matunga.

On the occasion of National Voter’s Day, in the last week of January, the office of the chief election officer (Maharashtra), through Mumbai’s collector and district election officer, organised a special programme, in association with V Citizen’s Action Group (VCAN) and their college partner, Churchgate’s Jai Hind College. The theme was— No voter left behind-Accessible Elections.

“Our students utilised their free time to approach eligible voters, not just on the campus, but also in our neighbourhoods. It is important to make an informed choice. Our students held a series of workshops for that,” said Ashok Wadia, principal of the college.