Mangaluru, Mar 13, 2018: Speaking during the workshop conducted by Dakshina Kannada district Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) , for campus ambassadors at the Zilla Panchayat Hall on March 12, Monday, Zilla Panchayat CEO Dr M R Ravi said, “It is not right on our part if we blame the government without exercising our franchise,”
“ SVEEP committee’s objective is to conduct awareness on inclusive, accessible and ethical voting, 72 campus ambassadors have been appointed at various colleges. Also, electoral literacy clubs are formed in 1,216 schools so that they can inform their elders. Awareness programmes including street plays, phone-in programmes, audio jingles, documentaries and short films, are organised at medical and engineering colleges by deputing nodal officers. Video promotions containing messages by dignitaries such as D Veerendra Heggade, Dr B M Hegde and film actors will be a part of the awareness programme,” he said.
For the first time, a poets’ meet will be organised on the importance of exercising franchise. ‘I shall vote’ badges will be distributed to the dignitaries. Another new concept is ‘jalathan’, to sensitise fishermen. There will also be a boat trip from Sulthan Bathery to Bengre.
“There is a need to create awareness among the persons with disabilities (PWD), transgenders, tribals, labourers from the unorganised sector as they too are eligible voters. Physically disabled persons are allowed to cast their vote, without having to wait in queues at the polling booths. The Booth-level Awareness Group (BAG) are meant to assist them,” he said.
“The mapping by the SVEEP committee shows 10,600 persons with disabilities in the district. Among them, 9,000 are enrolled in the voters’ list. Among 1,200 transgenders, around 250 are enrolled,” Dr Ravi added.
The CEO expressed concern on a significant part of the educated class distancing itself from the voting process. “Of the educated urban population, 23% did not vote in the last Assembly elections. About 35% of the eligible voters stayed away from voting in Mangaluru South constituency, which has recorded the lowest voting percentage in the district. Also, 18-50% tribal population did not exercise its franchise in the last elections,” he listed out.
In Dakshina Kannada, 22,513 new voters have enrolled in the voters’ list as on February 28, 2018. Among these, 12,052 are women and 10461 are men, he stated.