Election Commission, NGOs step up to increase voter turnout in Telangana

Election officer meeting all other groups

By Nikhat Fatima, TwoCircles.net

A network of NGOs and civil society organisations have taken up an initiative to campaign to increase the percentage of voters in Hyderabad for the upcoming elections in Telangana.

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Dana Kishore, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) commissioner and District Electoral officer along with NGOs, Residential welfare associations (RWA) requested the people to come out and vote at a meeting on November 8. He also said that a special team of the Election Commission of India comprising 16 officials will visit the city to supervise the process of elections and the initiatives of GHMC which are raising awareness amongst the voters on using the electronic voting machine (EVM), VVPAT (Voter verifiable paper audit trail) and other apps.

The members took an oath to cast their vote for candidates irrespective of their religion, caste, sex or wealth. They also pledged that they will not accept any form of gift from the candidates contesting elections either in the form of cash, clothes, liquor or any other material thing.

To take this campaign further, letters have been drafted to every household with a message to cast their vote along with the pledge to vote for the right candidate. These are actually letters from children asking their parents to vote.

On November 13, a few NGOs went to Government Schools to talk to the students and take an oath from them to take an assurance from their parents and other eligible members in the family who can vote.

chool children taking the pledge

The children and the teachers pledged to spread the message and ensure that every person in the family who is 18+ years will vote.

“This,” said Shivarani, one of the NGO staff, “is also a way of educating the future voters. These children will also realise how important and valuable each vote is. I am sure when they grow up and turn 18, they will not fail in their duty to cast their vote”.

the letter given to each child to give to her/his parents

About 181 polling stations which had only 40% of voter turnout in the previous elections have been identified. This time, the Election commission wants to ensure that at least 60% of voters come out to vote.

There are around 15 areas where the Election Watch Volunteers will focus: Musheerabad, Sanath Nagar, Secunderabad, Cantonment, Khairatabad, Nampally, Malakpet, Chandrayangutta, Charminar, Yakutpura, Karwan, Bahadur pura, Jubilee hills, Goshamahal and Amberpet.

Another task given to the team of volunteers is to guide those who have not yet registered their names to be added in the electoral list to apply by November 25, 2018.

The team is also visiting the 15 localities and suburbs to urge people to cast their votes. While the political parties are taking out rallies and conducting speeches making new promises and downsizing the opposition parties.

stickers with information distributed in the communities

The nominations filed in Telangana are 3500 but many independent candidates and others withdrew their nominations while 500 were rejected after scrutiny. so now there are 1824 contestants in 119 constituencies. According to Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar, the total number of voters in the state is 2, 80, 64,680 including 7, 46,077 new voters.