Bengaluru: Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Friday flagged concern over the apathy among young and urban voters during elections and called it a major challenge.
He wondered why polling day is not celebrated like a festival of democracy and rather taken as a holiday.
“One major challenge before the Commission is the general apathy, mainly young and urban apathy amongst our voters,” Kumar said during ‘Vote Fest-2023’ organised by the Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP).
The CEC sought to know how to motivate the ‘non-voters’ and draw them to the polling stations.
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“It has become extremely crucial to understand the reasons, perceptions, beliefs, motivations, barriers, challenges, experiences, contexts, and the contours that shape their decision to not cast their vote. Can we motivate these non-voters to realise their power, believe in that power and energise them to take the call that their one vote can make a huge difference?” Kumar wondered.
“Why can’t we celebrate the polling day with the same zeal, enthusiasm and colours as we celebrate our festivals? Today, youth is at the perpetual state of presumption that their vote does not influence government decision-making,” he pointed out.
As part of its exercise to encourage voters to exercise their franchise, the Commission launched a Hackathon ‘ELECTHON 2023′ to encourage innovation and creative solutions to issues of electoral process.
Twin exhibitions on history of elections in Karnataka and voter awareness was organised at the J N Tata Auditorium of the Indian Institute of Science.
Around 1,000 people attended the programme where the oldest voters were felicitated and a few young voters were symbolically presented with new voter ID cards. Persons with disability, tribal youth and transgender icons were also honoured.
Further, the CEC also participated in an interaction session in which various dignitaries including the vice chancellors of universities, director of IIIT/IIM(B), chairperson/CEO of IT companies, districts and state icons, entrepreneurs, students and young voters were present.
Kumar also flagged off eight mobile vans with LED hoardings carrying voter awareness messages by celebrities like ace retired cricketer Rahul Dravid persuading people to vote.
The eight vehicles will cover all the 28 assembly constituency segments of Bengaluru as a part of Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP).
A team of Election Commission officials led by CEC Rajiv Kumar arrived in the city on a three-day visit on Thursday to assess the readiness for assembly elections in the state.