AIZAWL, April 6 - The Mizoram chief electoral officer (CEO) is organising a selfie contest on the day of election to the lone Lok Sabha seat in Mizoram on April 11 to motivate young voters to exercise their democratic duty.
Concerned over low turnout among first-time voters during the State Assembly elections in November 2018, the CEO office has taken a number of steps to encourage young and first-time voters, a part of which is the selfie contest on polling day, CEO Ashish Kundra said at a press conference here today.
The CEO is offering Rs 7,000, Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,000 as the first, second and third prizes respectively for the selfie contest. Young voters have been asked to take selfies showing their finger marked with indelible ink or their voters� ID and post it on Instagram with the hashtag #MizoramVotes or send it to WhatsApp number 9089329312.
The CEO said that there were over 52,000 first-time voters in Mizoram from among 7.84 lakh electorate.
Kundra said a Young Voter�s Club has been set up in the State to encourage young voters to exercise their franchise. He said �Top 25 Instagram users� have been roped in as brand ambassadors to encourage young voters to exercise their franchise in the polls.
Those Instagram users, having a large following, would encourage and appeal to the youth to vote and participate in the electoral process. The CEO appealed to the media to prepare a programme like �Mipui aw� or �voice of the people� even after the election to create awareness on the developmental projects and welfare of the people.
Earlier, a one-minute video contest with the theme �The Importance of Casting Votes� was organised to motivate young voters to cast their votes. The CEO office received a good number of entries from which top three videos were selected. Prizes for the video contest will be distributed on Monday.
The CEO also thanked the civil societies for reversing their decision to boycott the Lok Sabha elections in Mizoram. �We are all set to deliver free, fair and peaceful elections,� he said.
He said officials have travelled to several districts across Mizoram to take stock of the preparations. �We are satisfied that our district election officials are fully trained and geared up for the elections,� he said.
He said that this time, there will be 117 women-only polling stations � a three-time increase from the last assembly polls. He informed that 256 voter awareness forums in various departments across the State are creating awareness among the masses.
It may be mentioned that a conglomeration of Mizoram�s civil societies and student organisations earlier made a call to boycott the Lok Sabha election, demanding that the Bru refugees lodged in Tripura relief camps should be allowed to vote in their respective polling stations where they are enlisted as voters, instead of arranging special polling stations at Kanhmun near the Tripura border.
The CEO said that as the polling stations at Kanhmun village set up for the Bru refugees were damaged by recent rains, arrangements were being made at a Catholic school in the village. There are a total of 12,081 eligible voters among the Bru refugees in six relief camps in Tripura.