If a picture speaks a thousand words, can a picture contest spawn several hundred thousand votes? Dhanbad, which has launched a unique online awareness campaign, will find the answer on Thursday.
As the parliamentary constituency prepares to go to polls, the district administration is sanguine of a good turnout based on the response to its Facebook and email challenges.
On March 11, Dhanbad debuted on the intensely popular social networking site and soon thereafter launched its Proud Voter Icon Contest, an invitation to democracy diehards to upload selfies or group pictures after inking their support for a better India. For those who do not have Facebook profiles, the district administration has opened an email avenue — firstname.lastname@example.org — to ensure participation.
After April 17, when the two Assembly segments of Baghmara and Tundi went to polls as a part of the Giridih parliamentary seat, the district mail account received applications from half a dozen voters. So did the Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dhanbad-SVEEP/765746130103156).
“We expect similar or perhaps even better response after tomorrow’s polling, when more than 18 lakh people are expected to exercise their franchise,” said Dhanbad SDO Abhishek Srivastava, who is also the nodal officer for the Election Commission’s systematic voters’ education and electoral participation (SVEEP) programme.
The contest is divided into two categories — individual and group — and each will have three winners who will be selected by a three-member jury. The best three photographs in each category will be honoured in hoardings across Dhanbad. The winners will also be felicitated by the district administration.
Srivastava said that the Facebook page, floated on the orders of deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer Prashant Kumar, was drawing good response.
“It has received over 90 likes and has an engagement rate of around 25 per cent,” he added.
Reiterating how one could participate, the SDO said voters must click selfies or group shots, go to the Facebook page, click on the comment button and upload photographs along with mobile phone details. “Those using only email, can attach the pictures and send it to our Gmail account with name and other details like name, date of birth and contact number,” he added.
Jharia lawyer Jignesh Joshi pledged his participation. “I learnt about the contest through newspapers. It seems interesting and I will give it my shot after voting tomorrow,” he said.
Telipara homemaker Rama Bhattacharjee echoed Joshi. “The contest is easy and it would be exciting to see myself on hoardings, that is if I win,” she chortled.
Will you upload your shot on Facebook?