The Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) students not only participated in on-the-campus drive organised by the Times Of India in petitioning the government for conducting online voting but also mobilised scores of other students to sign-up. This exercise held on Friday 18 January was a first-hand experience for the students in communication at ground zero level that surely honed their public relation skills too. The students were ably supported and guided by their faculty in association with a PR team from the leading media house. Prof. Kailas Bhosle helped the team with logistical support.
Around 1000 signed petitions were obtained by end of the day that marked the successful beginning of this campaign that will soon be conducted across various educational institutes in the city. Prajakta Khedkar, a first year JMC student has effectively penned the sentiment behind this effort thus: In today’s India, countless Indians are on the move for work and education. Our bank accounts travel with us everywhere and so do our phones and identities. Perhaps the only thing that doesn’t is our right to vote- that is tied to the place where we come from. Laid down by a rule that subtracts crores of Indians from our country’s democratic equation. It’s time to change this. Time to turn these lost votes into votes that count, because at the end they can shape the destiny of our nation.
But why did so many not vote ? One widely held perception is that they couldn’t care less. But is that really true ? Or is it because many or most of them couldn’t vote ? Think about what it takes to vote. You have to be of eligible age, you have to be registered on the electoral rolls and, most importantly you have to be physically present where you are registered on polling day to be allowed to vote. And that’s where the rub lies. Is it realistic to expect you to de-register yourself in your hometown and register where you happen to be temporarily, only to go through the whole process again a year or so down the line ?