Children urge parents to vote
Rushi Tawadi, a Class 7 student, took a letter home addressed to his parents two weeks ago. The letter urged parents to go out and vote in the upcoming civic elections on February 16.
Tawadi along with students from more than 30 schools associated with Children's Movement for Civic Awareness (CMCA), a not-for-profit, are part of a campaign to create informed voters.
With a poor average voter turnout of around 45% in the previous BMC elections in 2007, these children are hoping to make a difference.
"My friends and I are working towards putting Mumbai in good hands. I believe each person can make a difference, and we are urging more and more parents to go out and vote by writing letters to them," said Tawadi, a student from Sri Balaji International School in Malad.
The common letter drafted by CMCA reads: These elections are important, because it is the BMC who is responsible for our water, drainage system, roads, garbage disposal, and the city's development - the things that affect us the most. When you, as parents, wish us good health, wealth and happiness ...how can we achieve this if we don't vote for the right people to look after our basic health in this city?' Pooja Tulsiani, mother of Yash, who studies at Sri Balaji International School said, "When children tell you to go out and vote, it really makes you think. I will cast my vote and I am sure other parents will, too."
Vinodini Lulla, trustee and city co-coordinator for CMCA, said children could play a crucial role in reversing the trend of poor voter turnout during the civic elections. "The child can't vote, but the child can at least make an appeal to vote", said Lulla.
Other non-government organisations involved with the civic elections feel that the initiative will help push people to go out and vote. Shyama Kulkarni, Trustee, Action for Good Governance and Networking in India (AGNI), gives a thumb-up to the initiative. "Having been a teacher myself, I absolutely support the initiative. Children should tell their parents to go out and vote. We must try everything to create awareness on the issue."