Vinay Kumar Choubey at the meeting in Ranchi on Tuesday. (Hardeep Singh)
They are yet to attain the voting age, but that does not mean that they cannot urge others to vote.
Taking serious note of the low turnout of voters (37 per cent) in 2009 elections, the Ranchi district administration is cashing in on the easy appeal of children to boost the voting percentage in the Lok Sabha elections this time.
In a rare initiative, the administration will involve students to motivate their parents to turn up at the polling booths to cast their franchise. As such, printed forms will be given to the students of government and private schools, wherein they would take a written pledge from their parents.
Deputy commissioner and district election officer Vinay Kumar Choubey unveiled the plan before education department officials at a meeting at his office on Tuesday. The meeting was convened to chalk out a strategy to increase voting percentage under Election Commission’s Systematic Voters Education Electoral Participation programme.
“Get the forms printed and send it to the schools for distribution among the students,” Choubey told district superintendent of education Jayant Kumar Mishra.
According to Mishra, the idea would surely click.
“As many as 6.5 lakh students of government and private school will urge their parents to vote. The voting percentage will definitely increase as parents can never ignore the right suggestion of their children,” he added.
Mishra further said that such style of awareness drive was the need of hour as in last Assembly elections, only 37 per cent of capital voters had exercised their right to franchise, despite Ranchi being an elite constituency with a 77.17 per cent literacy rate.
This time, over 18 lakh voters are expected to vote at 2,358 polling booth spread across Lohardaga, Ranchi and Khunti Lok Sabha constituencies on April 10 and 17.
Apart from education department officials, representatives from PSUs like Central Coalfields Limited, CMPDIL and Mecon, who also have a role to play in increasing voting percentage under corporate social responsibility, attended the meeting. Members of Federation of Jharkhand Chamber of Commerce and Industries were also present.