College-goers, who wish to exercise their franchise for the first time during the upcoming general elections, no longer need to run around to get their names enrolled. All they need to do is chat up their campus ambassadors.
As many as 85 poll emissaries have been selected from Jharkhand’s as many degree and technical cradles as a part of the Election Commission’s earnest endeavour to connect the youth and the electoral process.
From Ranchi district, 11 campus envoys have been selected. These student ambassadors — referred by their respective institutions — are being entrusted with the gruelling job of guiding every eligible college mate on voter registration.
Jharkhand’s chief electoral officer P.K. Jajoria said that acting on a September 2013 missive from the EC, they had issued letters to all deputy commissioners to initiate the process of deputing ambassadors. He said the state would soon boast at least one campus envoy in each college.
“The primary job of these students is to identify first-time voters and distribute Form 6 copies so that names are updated on voter lists. The process began last year, but with polls round the corner, we are writing to deputy commissioners again to direct campus representatives to swing into action,” Jajoria added.
Cabinet joint secretary (election) A.K. Rao said a college student from any batch could become a poll ambassador.
“He/she must not be a representative of a students’ union or be affiliated to any political outfit in the college. This apart, he or she must be friendly and have the ability to convince others,” said Rao, adding that each ambassador would get a one-time incentive of Rs 2,000.
Campus ambassadors would need to shoulder additional responsibilities from March.
“They will need to counsel young adults on electoral integrity, so that they refrain from practices like accepting bribes in lieu of votes,” Rao said.
He added that once election dates were announced, the ambassadors would need to keep an eye out for unfair practices on campus during campaigns and report them to the commission. “We will organise a workshop in March to train campus ambassadors.”
Students have welcomed the move.
“I am a resident of Ranchi, but my name does not figure on the list. If a campus ambassador can help me fill up Form 6, it will be great. Voting is my right and duty,” said Aparna, a first-year engineering student of BIT-Mesra.
Have you met your campus ambassador yet?