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Deepika, not Mahi, to target Youngistan for polls

Exit one D, enter another.

Election Commission (EC) has prepared a voter awareness campaign featuring ace archer Deepika Kumari after deciding not to air similar ads featuring Team India captain M.S. Dhoni in the wake of ongoing investigations against some teams of Indian Premiere League (IPL).

“Right now we are not showing any of the ads done by M.S. Dhoni (also captain of IPL team Chennai Super Kings). For Jharkhand, we have named archer Deepika Kumari as brand ambassador,” the state’s chief electoral officer P.K. Jajoria said on Friday.

No commission official would come on record to elaborate the reasons behind the move to replace Ranchi’s best known citizen as its brand ambassador for Jharkhand. Especially when ads featuring him exhorting citizens to vote were used widely in the 2009 Lok Sabha and later, Assembly elections.

The EC’s silence, highly placed sources said, had to do with the ongoing probe into allegations of betting and match-fixing in cricket.

On Monday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) appealed to the Supreme Court not to make public a list of names of some capped players suspected to have played a role in match-fixing.

The list was submitted in a sealed envelope to judges by a court-appointed committee headed by former Punjab and Haryana chief justice Mukul Mudgal.

EC sources maintained that the matter regarding the use of ads featuring Dhoni during pre-poll voter awareness campaigns on television channels was discussed threadbare at many meetings in New Delhi.

In the end, while no directives against their use were issued, the EC decided to ask its state counterparts to choose youth icons for awareness programmes.

Commonwealth Gold medal winner and Olympian Deepika fitted the bill.

“She is a young girl and the face of the state. We need such faces for voter awareness as the population comprises youthful voters. We have prepared a campaign with her and sent it to EC for approval. The sooner EC gives its green signal, Deepika ads would be released,” Jajoria said.

Do you think Deepika is a better choice than Dhoni?

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