As the country’s voters smashed a 30-year turnout record, two activities taken up by the Election Commission to enhance people’s participation have ended up establishing Guinness World Records, each in a Gujarat district. Under the EC’s systematic voters’ education and electoral participation (SVEEP) programme, a campaign to sign a one-page written pledge was taken up in Narmada district. It collected 58,398 signed pledges on a single day (April 2) and has now been awarded the status of a Guinness World Record with the title “Most Pledges to Vote in an Election”. Narmada’s district collector Rakesh Shankar has been named in the Guinness certificate.
The second record was established in Valsad, which took up a unique initiative, kartavyabodh abhiyan, for sending postcards to all voters. These postcards were painted or written upon by students and NGOs with the message “Thank you for voting” and then posted to all 10.96 voters of Valsad, EC officials said. The event of “most people sending a postcard from a single location simultaneously”, held in Bulsar District Cricket Association Cricket Stadium, Valsad, on May 10, has been awarded Guinness status, with district collector Dr Vikrant Pandey and Team Valsad credited in the certificate.
The EC has also staked claims to the Limca Book of Records with a move to take over 95,000 signatures on a pledge for ethical voting on a 1-km-long canvas in Narmada, as well as a “Ride to Vote-Narmada Bike Rally Championship” held on April 28, where 1,214 bikers rode over 60 km to motivate voters.
Sources said Ashish Khetan will be the vice-chairman of the commission.