Election commission ‘likes’ Facebook to attract voters

BHUBANESWAR (TIP): If you thought only candidates are logging on to various social networking sites, hold on. The election commission has logged on to social networking site Facebook to appeal to voters to cast their franchise in large numbers.

The social network campaign is part of the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP), for which the Election Commission of India sanctioned nearly Rs 70 lakh to Odisha, official sources said. “Know your right to vote” – the message is loud and clear on the newly created Facebook account of the chief electoral officer (CEO), Odisha. “Since Facebook is a widely circulated and vibrant medium, the forum will help us sensitize people about their voting rights.

We have opened an account ‘Sveep Odisha’ on Facebook to spread awareness about the voting rights,” Odisha’s chief electoral officer Mona Sharma said. “The main purpose of the campaign is to inform, motivate and request every eligible voter to cast vote,” Sharma said. “Sveep Odisha” features the highlights of voter awareness drives initiated by the district administrations across the state. “We have uploaded a short video clipping, where an Odia actor appeals people to exercise their voting rights.We are planning to upload some new features on the Facebook account to attract voters,” Sharma said.

The CEO’s office said it would install hoardings and paste posters in Odia, Hindi and English languages, requesting people to participate in the voting process. Posters would also be stuck at public places like bus stands and railway stations in the state. The election commission has asked the culture department to engage folk and traditional artists to spread awareness about voting right in rural areas. Recently, the election commission launched aggressive campaign on “voting rights” with the help of noted sand sculptor Sudarsan Pattnaik, actors Archita and Buddhaditya Mohanty and social activist Sruti Mohapatra.

For the first time, National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers would be mobilized outside polling stations to guide voters to their booths. Besides, the NSS volunteers would spread awareness on campuses of different colleges. In December last year, Odisha Election Watch (OEW), the state chapter of National Election Watch, launched a voters’ awareness initiative ahead of the forthcoming general elections. Audio and videos by some film stars, featured in the “My country my vote; My vote not for sale” campaign.

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