The Election Commission of India (ECI) has teamed up with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to use the Indian Premier League (IPL) platform to spread voter awareness for the Lok Sabha polls. They have suggested that cricket players could deliver “motivational messages” in their speeches, and cheerleaders wearing ECI merchandise could also be introduced.
The IPL season started on March 23 and will go on till May 12, and is coinciding with the poll schedule. On March 22, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha wrote to BCCI CEO Rahul Johri in this regard.
The letter starts by thanking Johri for recording bytes of various cricketers on voter awareness. “It is requested that appropriate opportunity may be provided to the states, where matches are being held, to optimally utilise non-sponsored space to disseminate voter education messages. States are also being asked to identify a group of volunteers who shall be cheerleaders, wear ECI merchandise, and hold voter awareness messages/placards. We request you to kindly allow their entry in the stadium as well as ground during break, so that it can be displayed on camera,” wrote Sinha. Follow more election news here.
“Scoreboards may also display voter education messages, specifically reminders to vote… In this connection, an eight-point wishlist of the commission… is also attached,” he said.
On March 25, ECI Under Secretary Sujeet Kumar Mishra wrote to chief election officers of Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi, Karnataka and Telangana. “ECI is collaborating with BCCI to use the IPL platform for promoting electoral participation for the Lok Sabha Election 2019,” he said.
“In this connection, CEOs are requested to coordinate with BCCI for matches for activities given. Creatives/merchandise items may be displayed/distributed during matches as mentioned in the wishlist,” he added.
The eight-point wishlist includes “motivational messages/ taglines by cricketers, and also in their speeches after winning/ while receiving prizes” and “placing of ECI merchandise in the commentary studio (mugs, coasters) with taglines/ voter education messages for voting in free, fair and ethical manner”.
Delhi CEO Ranbir Singh told The Indian Express that arrangements for the same are being made at Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, where Delhi is scheduled to play Kolkata on March 30.