To ensure a good voter turnout in the upcoming Assembly elections, the Delhi Election Commission is going by the maxim, ‘catch ‘em young’. It has enlisted the help of government school students to get a voter’s pledge signed by their parents.
On directions from the Election Commission, the Department of Education has asked all school students to get signed pledges from parents stating they will vote on February 7 ‘to secure their child’s future’.
“Dear Mummy-Papa, I know you love me very much and that you work hard day and night to secure my future. My future is also directly related to a strong democracy. So I want you to take a pledge today, that you will go and vote on February 7. I am sure you will keep your promise,” the pledge addressed to the parents reads.
Joint chief electoral officer Rajesh Goyal said, “We have distributed 15 lakh sankalp patras (pledge letters) across schools run by the government, the MCD, NDMC and Delhi Cant Board. We have asked the schools to distribute these letters, get them filled, collect and hand them over to us by February 5.”
Goyal said the objective of the exercise was to ensure greater voter awareness. “This was done to ensure that everyone takes voting seriously. When children take these letters home, their parents will discuss it with other members of the family and this will create awareness,” Goyal said.
“We got instructions from the DoE to distribute these pledge letters to all students a couple of days ago. It is a compulsory exercise and we have been asked to submit a detailed report, citing reasons if a student fails to get it signed,” Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu School, Rohini, said.
“Teachers and staff members have also been asked to sign and submit the pledges,” Arora said.
The pledge asks parents to also encourage friends and relatives around them to vote.
“In the last Assembly elections, a similar exercise was undertaken, but this time the format of the pledge is a little different. It has a more emotional appeal,” Pooja Gupta, parent of a child studying in ASN, Mayur Vihar, said.
Chaitanya, parent of a child studying in DPS, Rohini, said: “ It’s a good way to educate and engage children in the election process.”
“It is great to involve children in understanding how the political system works,” R C Jain, president, Delhi State Public schools Management committee, said.
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