The State will go to polls this week. In addition to door-to-door campaigns by politicians, several private organisations, students and government agencies, such as the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), are chalking out innovative and attractive measures to inspire people to come out of their homes and vote.
The message — even one vote counts — is being drilled into people’s mind.
In addition to the BBMP initiative, the Karnataka Milk Federation (KMF) has printed a message on its half-litre milk packets — “Your vote is precious. Vote on April 17 without fail.” In another initiative, a group of women were seen drawing rangoli with the election as the central theme.
The BBMP has converted the Kempegowda Park, right opposite its office, into a ‘vote spot’. It has posters and art work erected by the students of an art school and if all this is not enough, there’s also a local theatre group that has been going around the City urging people to vote through street plays and music performances. Metrolife caught up with BBMP officials, KMF authorities and ordinary people to understand how effective these campaigns are likely to be.
BBMP commissioner M Lakshminarayana, who is also the Election Commissioner (Bangalore district), says the BBMP is doing all it can to educate people to vote. They are making efforts to get the attention of those working in the IT sector as well. “There were about 10,000 rangolis drawn across various points in the City. There are street plays by popular theatre groups and the vote spot near Hudson Circle has been attracting a lot of onlookers,” he says.
Lakshminarayana further states, “I will make a request that all IT companies be given a holiday on April 17 to enable them to vote. Since their clients are based out of the City, the companies remain open. We don’t want to miss this category of voters.”
KMF’s initiative is part of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme that aims to increase voter awareness and participation.
A senior officer with KMF, who didn’t want to be quoted says, “Milk is a basic commodity that people consume and we thought this is a good way to attract people to cast their votes. We hope to make a difference to get people to vote.”
Ordinary people have been bombarded with messages on the radio, television and through campaigns to vote without fail. But people say that more than the campaigns, they hope to exercise their basic right although they know that it won’t make much of a difference.
Sridevi, an employee of Bosch, says, “I will definitely vote. You can complain about bad roads and poor infrastructure but you can’t hope to make that little difference, unless you vote.” Sowmyashree, another professional, is sure that the City is not going to get any better. “The new government may be worse than the one we already have but it’s best that you can be the change you want to see. It’s important to vote,” she adds.
Meheboob D, a marketing manager in a company, says, “The poor are bribed with money and liquor to vote for a particular party but at least by voting, you are sure you’ve added to the numbers, for better or worse.” Fayaz, an auto drivers sums up, “Election-related awareness rallies and programme are inevitable during this time but they don’t make much of a difference to voter’s perception about politicians. We vote to answer our conscience.”