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Delhi poll body has roped in social media influencers for voter awareness: Chief Electoral Officer

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New Delhi, May 14 (PTI) Keeping up with the times, the Delhi poll body has roped in social media influencers to encourage youth to exercise their franchise on May 25 when the national capital goes to polls.

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Speaking to PTI, Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) P Krishnamurthy said the poll body has been conducting activities under the Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation programme, better known as SVEEP, to spread voter awareness.

In a novel initiative this time, various districts have roped in influencers for the cause.

"Some of our districts have roped in social media influencers, youngsters with significant following like rappers, travel guides, food cuisine experts, to encourage electors to cast vote," he told PTI in an interview.

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From holding activities in schools to teaching children about the value of vote to organising walkathons and 'Voters' Mela', the poll body has launched several initiatives to boost voter turnout.

"It is a continuous process that has been going on all through the year. Those activities have resulted in an increase in the number of electors, especially women, youths and even third gender voters, being enrolled," Krishnamurthy said.

The senior IAS officer said the enrolment of women has significantly shot up while the gender ratio has increased substantially from 818 in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls to 851 this time.

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A jump has also been witnessed in the number of young first-time voters, the CEO said.

"We started with about 63,000 at the time we published the draft electoral role. But now we have crossed 2.52 lakh, and that's another significant addition," he added.

According to the official data for the 2024 parliamentary elections, over 82 lakh voters are men and more than 69 lakh are women. The number of third genders in this election is 1,228, he said.

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During the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the national capital had over 78 lakh male electors, while the number of women voters was over 64 lakh. The number of third gender voters stood at 669.

Krishnamurthy said his teams are continuing with voter awareness activities. Earlier, the focus was on encouraging people to enrol as voters, which has now shifted to encouraging them to cast their votes, he added.

"They are continuing with the focus on encouraging people to participate in the elections. Teams are visiting local areas, reaching out to students, youth, women -- all segments of the society, organising human chains, conducting cultural programmes, nukkad nataks," he added.

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In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Delhi had recorded a voter turnout of around 65 per cent, which dipped to around 60 per cent in the 2019 general elections.

Even though heatwave conditions are predicted around May 25, when polling will be held in Delhi, the chief electoral officer said he expects a good voter turnout.

"Voter turnout is a dynamic process. The political process is a mover of voter turnout. We try to create ease of voting. We expect a good voter turnout," he said.

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While accepting that one of the concerns this time is the heat wave conditions as predicted by the India Meteorological Department, Krishnamurthy said the election body held a meeting with all the stakeholders to discuss the issue.

"We have initiated certain measures to mitigate the impact of the heat wave. including strengthening the shaded areas, provision of cold drinking water, fans, coolers in the waiting area, making adequate quantity of water available through the Delhi Jal board, and deployment of paramedical staff in each of the polling locations with basic medical kits," he said.

He added that creches will also be set up at various polling locations.

Polling for the seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi will be held in the the sixth phase on May 25. PTI SLB SJJ RPA

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