This could well be the biggest opportunity that has come the Indian student communitys way in terms of fulfilling the desire to cast the vote in general elections. The Indian Express in association with Janaagraha is all ready to roll out I Count,a campaign that will help enroll students,aged 18 and above,for voting in the Lok Sabha elections starting April 16.
The one-day campaign will be held in four prominent colleges of the city College of Engineering,Pune,Symbiosis International University (two campuses),Maharashtra Institute of Technology and Modern College,Shivajinagar on Wednesday,March 4.
Indias young population is considered its biggest demographic dividend,yet it is mostly missing from voter queues during elections,denying itself a say in the largest democratic exercise anywhere in the world. This campaign assumes significance in this backdrop.
The Indian Express staff along with representatives of Janaagraha and the Election Commissions office will be present at the four colleges. The Janaagraha members will assist students in filling forms online. The Election Commission also has been very encouraging in their response to the initiative and has extended its full support.
The idea behind the campaign is not to just promote voting but also create a platform that will allow students,first time voters enlist in the rolls and actively participate in the electoral process.
Gajanan Ekbote,executive chairman of progressive education society,which runs Modern College,said,Its a good gesture. Students generally neglect to register themselves as voters. It will be a good opportunity for them to get registered,as they will be provided with the facility in the college itself. Modern College has always welcomed progressive steps and as it is a campaign in the interest of the nation,we are proud to be associated with it.
Rahul Karad,executive director of Maharashtra Institute of Technology (MIT),too lauded the effort saying,These days people have become narrow-minded. If we are to usher in real change in the society,people should participate in governance. Voting is a big step towards it. MIT has always encouraged such initiatives.
The students at our two campuses are excited about the whole process and we will ensure that they get themselves registered, said Vidya Yerawadekar,principal director of Symbiosis.
According to Director of CoEP Anil Sahasrabuddhe,the student community is excited as many of them would otherwise not have voted.
Documents for registration
* Address proof
* Age proof
* Two passport size photographs
* Students residing in hostels to bring a student declaration form signed by the college principal.
* Hard copies of the documents will be given to representatives from the Election Commission office for verification