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Heritage walk to tree plantation:Poll authorities in Delhi raising voting awareness innovatively

twitter-logoPTI | May 7, 2019 | Updated 19:53 IST

By Kunal Dutt New Delhi, May 7 (PTI) A heritage walk through the bylanes of Old Delhi, tree plantation by local residents and a qawwali evening are among the innovative ways through which the poll body in the city is raising awareness on voting ahead of the May 12 election here. Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh said the Systematic Voter's Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) team and the Returning Officers in the seven constituencies have also taken several initiatives to achieve maximum outreach. Singh said a huge hydrogen balloon has been installed in Amar Colony to attract people's attention and it carries a message 'Vote on May 12'. "The Election Commission has made endeavours to ensure no voter is left behind and we have taken various steps in Delhi to reach out to voters, in interior areas and in open parks, among other places, but innovation is the key," Singh said. As many as 164 candidates are in fray in Delhi, where the polls is largely being seen as a triangular contest among the AAP, BJP and the Congress. Of the over 1.43 crore eligible voters in Delhi, 78,73,022 are male and 64,42,762 female, while 669 belong to the third gender. "While devising various initiatives under the SVEEP programme, the idea was to reach out to those places a well where turnout have been low in the past. And a number of wonderful initiatives being taken across the constituency, we are hoping that there would be an increase in voter turnout this year," Singh told PTI. Seeking to reach out to people in the Walled City, Delhi CEO Office, in partnership with INTACH and a local NGO, had organised a heritage walk in its bylanes, raising awareness on the city's built legacy as well on voting simultaneously. "During the walk, several people got curious and joined it and that helps in raising awareness as our officials carry pamphlets and other educational material for distribution," he said. They are also reaching out to morning walkers and joggers in various parks and handling them pamphlets and other voter awareness material. A qawalli performance by Nizami brothers was held recently in the premises of a college in Chandni Chowk constituency, besides a special app dedicated to facilitate voters in accessing poll-related information, that was launched late April. In North West Delhi constituency, a plantation drive has been started under which polling officials would encourage people to plant trees while taking pledge to vote, officials said, adding that about 1.25 lakh trees are to be planted under the drive. The Delhi CEO had recently also taken a ride in the Delhi Metro to reach out to voters and appealed to them to vote on May 12 when the seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi goes to polls. The seven constituencies are -- Chandni Chowk, North Delhi, West Delhi, North West Delhi, South Delhi, East Delhi and New Delhi. Singh said our endeavour has been to reach out to both young and old voters, first-timers and centennial ones. Under the SVEEP programme, wrap advertisements have been put up on DTC buses, metro trains, and hoarding have also been mounted to raise awareness on voting. Special awareness programmes have also been carried out to reach out to third gender voters and those with disabilities. The Election Commission has also kept a theme of 'Accessible Election' for the 2019 polls. A dance performance by a troupe of differently abled artists, who hold a Guinness World Record, is slated to take place Tuesday evening at Dilli Haat, Janakpuri as part of an initiative by the District Election Officer (West). As an innovative measure, even in Delhi Jal Board bills, a line of appeal to vote has been printed to raise awareness. PTI KND KJ KJ KJ

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