Ghaziabad:From putting up voter ID booths in residential societies months before elections are announced, to holding meetings of residents with political candidates, Residents’ Welfare Associations (RWAs) and Apartment Owners’ Associations (AOAs) play a pivotal role during elections. All RWAs in the city come to life during elections as they initiate voting awareness drives and mobilise residents to vote. In March last year, the RWAs and AOAs started hosting voter ID booths in residential localities for the convenience of the public. “Preparations for the elections in 2017 started a year in advance as we held the voters’ ID booths at various societies so that no one is left from the electoral roll. This not acts as convenience for residents but also helps increase the voting percentage of the area,” said Rajesh Jha, member of Consortium of Societies, Ghaziabad (CSG). Further, being representatives of the residents, the RWAs also put forward their demands to the candidates, which are then used by them for their agendas. “We have written letters to the candidates telling them about our demands. Being representatives of the residents, we have assured them of our support if they promise to highlight our issues at the Vidhan Sabha after the elections. The issues raised by us include a government hospital for Sahibabad constituency and proper sanitation and drainage system in the localities,” said Jay Dixit, a member of Shalimar Garden Sudhar Samiti, Sahibabad. Apart from this, in order to bridge gap between the candidates and the residents, the RWAs also hold meeting between the two.While Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate for Sahibabad constituency, Jalauddin Siddiqui visited residential societies in Indirapuram on January 29, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate for the same constituency, Sunil Sharma is slated to visit high rises in Indirapuram on February 5.“We have raised the issue of implementation of UP Apartment Act and Real Estate Regulatory Authority Act in the city with Sunil Sharma. He has promised us to give an affidavit to us stating that he will raise the issue in the Vidhan Sabha, if elected. He will be visiting the various high rise societies in Indirapuram on Sunday,” said Alok Kumar, founder of Federation of Apartment Owners’ Association (Fed-AOA).The election time is the busiest for the RWA members whose weekends are spent on voting awareness campaigns.“The most effective tool for voting awareness is going on ground level and talking to people face to face, done from morning to evening. Though going door-to-door may not be practical, we spot people in park, parking areas and shopping complexes and start out a conversation with them and encourage them for voting,” added Jha.The members are also using social media tools to reach out to people.“We encourage the people to put their voters’ ID cards to use and not just keep them as address and ID proofs. Rampant messaging through Facebook and WhatsApp is done day and night in order to encourage people to vote,” Dixit said.