A SVEEPing wave to arrest decline in voter turnout

Each Koraga family is met and a demonstration of EVMs and VVPATs held exclusively. Image for Representation

The Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme initiated by the district administration is gaining momentum as the performances are majorly concentrating on the lowest turnout areas during the previous Assembly polls in 2013.

Speaking to DH, Zilla Panchayat CEO Shivanad Kapashi said that Yakshagana and street plays are highlighted as the art forms are more intense in reaching out to the people. The awareness in the initial stages was with a view to convince the public to come and vote and later the focus was set on verifying the inclusion of the names in the voters list in their respective polling booths. Finally, the emphasis has been on ethical voting wherein the public is given demonstrations over ethical voting and casting their vote without succumbing to any pressure.

Apart from the low turnout in booths, as recorded in the last Assembly polls, the SVEEP programme targets underprivileged sections of the society, which includes people with disabilities and scheduled caste and tribe communities. Each Koraga family is met and a demonstration of EVMs and VVPATs held exclusively. The community people are told to be aware of the value of their rights and the importance to cast their votes cautiously. Besides, areas which are remote bordering the district near Shivamogga in Kundapur are considered as most of these are Maoist affected. Confidence building measures are taken up in these region.

Kapashi said that SVEEP programme was also taken up in a mass marriage hall wherein nearly 5,000 people were administered an oath on ethical voting. As many as 51 pairs were getting married on the occasion.

He said that extensive programmes for visually impaired and physically challenged were also organised. A sand sculpture programme, wherein sculptures imparted the message of the importance of voting was also held.

A jatha in Karkala and Kundapur was carried out wherein a signature campaign was also held and SHG members and ASHA and Anganawadi workers signed for the campaign. The slogan that was highlighted was ‘My Vote is not for Sale’. In addition, a special drive for transgenders was held wherein the state president of Transgender Association took part. The district administration chose the common man occupied in the traditional work to deliver effective messages. Slogans like 'Varusha Nooru, Mathadanada Sambhrama Joru,' 'Kulumeya Yetu, Mathadanada Votu,' 'Indu Nanna Mathadana, Munde Ninna Mathadana,' 'Parishudhha Haalinanthe Erali Namma Mathadana,' 'Yentha Kelasa Idru Vote Hakuvudanna Mareyabeda,' 'Vote Padere Undu Bega Poyi,' 'Ondagihevu Naavu Mathadanakkagi… Hosa Nadigagi…Jotheyagi' were used to convince the voters about the importance of casting their vote.

Most importantly, hoardings carried the messages with the common man’s face to build up familiarity. Cycle rallies were held at various junctions to promote ethical voting. The student community were also targetted in the programme held at Bantakallu engineering college. Many such programmes will be held in the days to come. The PDOs and other officials in the City and Town municipal limits are carrying out the demo on VVPATs and EVMs everyday all over their respective jurisdictions. Pamphlets are distributed as part of door-to-door awareness campaigns over ethical voting, he said.

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A SVEEPing wave to arrest decline in voter turnout

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