GUWAHATI, March 23 � The Morigaon district administration has launched a special drive under the Election Commission�s Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme to motivate urban voters � especially the young and first-time voters � into exercising their franchise in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls.
Aimed at creating awareness among citizens, especially youth and women, about exercising their voting rights and consequently achieve larger voter participation in the polls, SVEEP was introduced in 2010 in view of the plummeting voter turnout in urban constituencies. It has proved to be a successful initiative in several States since.
�Poor voter turnout in urban centres has been a persisting problem, with the urban areas of the district recording some 50 per cent polling in the last assembly and Lok Sabha polls. At certain pockets, it was even below 50 per cent. We hope to arrest the sliding trend and bring the voting percentage up to 80 per cent by attracting the young voters through a sustained campaign,� Rakesh Kumar, Deputy Commissioner, Morigaon, told The Assam Tribune.
The SVEEP campaign in Moigaon is covering all the three Legislative Assembly constituencies (LACs) of the district. The campaign involves 25 volunteers � half of those being women � drawn from various colleges.
�The drive is basically aimed at informing and educating the young voters on the need to cast their votes through meetings, rallies, interactive programmes, distribution of pamphlets, street plays, lectures, etc. We have roped in two eminent sportspersons of the district as campaign ambassadors,� Kumar who is also the Returning Officer of the district said, adding that the drive comprised both routine and innovative components.
NGOs, too, have lent a helping hand to the campaign. �We have tied up with Red Cross, Nehru Yuva Kendra and a local organization of Mayong so that the message of voters� participation in polls reaches the electorate, especially the youth,� Kumar added.
The district had a voter turnout of 72 per cent and 73 per cent in the last Assembly and Lok Sabha polls respectively.
The campaign also looks after related aspects of the electoral exercise by providing relevant information and facilitating services to the voters besides meeting the needs of the physically-challenged voters.