Panel plans programmes to create voter awareness

If all goes according to the plans of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (OCEO), parents of school kids in the State may have to take a voter’s pledge before their children and put their signature on the pledge note.

In order to ensure fearless and inducement-free elections, the OCEO on Friday issued pledge letters to all the deputy commissioners in the State. Deputy commissioners have been told to provide these letters to students of all the schools in their jurisdiction. In turn, students will take these letters to their parents for signature.

The content of the voter’s pledge goes like this: “We, the citizens of India, having abiding faith in democracy, hereby pledge to uphold democratic traditions of our country and the dignity of free, fair and peaceful elections, and to vote in every election fearlessly and without being influenced by considerations of religion, race, caste, community, language or any inducement.” Officials of OCEO told Deccan Herald that the exercise will go a long way in creating awareness among elders as they will be taking a pledge before their children. “We have not made it mandatory for students about the signature. Elders too will get a feel of what exactly the voting exercise is for.

They will get the message not to get influenced by cheap tricks of politicians,” he said.
Asked whether it was too late for banking on students as exams are over, election officials said as the exam results are not yet out, there was still time to reach out to them. Students can be reached till April 10 and we have already begun the process of creating awareness, he said.

Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha held a video conference with all deputy commissioners in the State and directed them to create awareness among voters about free and fair elections. District administrations have been asked to concentrate more on areas where voter registration is low and those areas where low percentage of voting has been recorded during previous elections. Mobile vans can also be used to register voters in such places.

In urban areas, street plays and dance programmes should be held to create awareness. Similar ideas can be used to reach out tribal people who are in large numbers in districts such as Chamarajnagar, Mysore, Madikeri and Uttara Kannada.
DC offices can take help of other government departments and non-government organisations in this regard. Rs 2 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh can be spent on each constituency for creating awareness among voters, Jha told officials.

Jha also asked district officers to display related pamphlets in public places such as bus stations, railway stations, primary healthcare centres and farmer facilitation centres.
DH News Service

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