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XLRI zing for better turnout strategies

One of the best in the business, their brains have been picked by companies galore to boost growth and profit. Now, they shall apply the same acumen to devise strategies to market the latest phenomenon to be sweeping the country.

XLRI-Jamshedpur has been roped in by the East Singhbhum administration to promote the Lok Sabha elections and increase voter count in Jamshedpur constituency, which will go to polls on April 17. The premier B-school has also been asked to devise strategies to minimise gender gap and urban apathy towards the general election and draw maximum number of first-time voters to polling booths.

Jamshedpur, which has a large presence of urban voters, saw 52.32 voter turnout in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. The voting percentage in urban areas hovered between 30-50 per cent in the last few Assembly and general elections, while touching 60 per cent in rural areas.

XLRI is learnt to have already finalised the strategy, which was discussed threadbare with East Singhbhum deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer of Jamshedpur Amitabh Kaushal and Dhalbhum SDO Prem Ranjan at a closed-door meeting on campus on Monday.

XLRI was represented by director Fr E Abraham and dean (academics) Pranabesh Ray.

Although XLRI officials declined to say anything, Kaushal confirmed to The Telegraph that they decided to take the management cradle’s help in keeping with a directive issued by deputy election commissioner Alok Shukla to forge alliance with private organisations, schools and colleges to increase voter count during the elections.

“These initiatives are being undertaken as part of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme of the Election Commission. XLRI has promised to come up with a suitable action plan. Another meeting will be held next week,” he said.

Ranjan revealed that XLRI officials presented a plan, Possible Approach for Increasing Voter Turnout in Jharkhand, at the meeting. “The final plan will be ready in a few days,” the SDO added.

If sources are to be believed, the plan is an integration of Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action (AIDA) and has been drawn up on the basis of a survey conducted among voters in the age group of 25 to 30.

“Under awareness, XLRI has suggested a focused campaign supported by hoardings, distribution of pamphlets and staging of nukkad nataks with the help of local leaders, district administration, NGOs, civil societies, school and college students besides local urban bodies,” said a well-placed source.

For interest, the idea is to generate interest amongst voters through attitude change using radio, cable TV, paintings on public transport, newspapers and wall paintings.

In desire section, it recommended that voters should know the benefits they would get by taking part in the election process. As part of action, the administration has to remove bottlenecks for voters by ensuring availability of transport, short queues at booths, easy identification of names on electoral rolls and hygienic ambience.