Lok Sabha Election

Working for change, one voter at a time

Chaitanya Prabhu

Chaitanya Prabhu

After helping close to 6,000 Mumbaikars register as first-time voters for the Lok Sabha polls, Mark Your Presence (MYP) has now set its sights on the Assembly elections in the State.

The brainchild of 20-year-old Chaitanya Prabhu, MYP aims to ensure that the younger generation is politically aware and exercises its right to vote in an informed manner.

Over the past two months, in the run-up to the election, MYP, working in collaboration with the State’s Chief Electoral Officer, helped 5,811 people register themselves as first-time voters.

The idea for MYP, which is now six months old, came from a personal observation made by Mr. Prabhu. He said, “I found that I could not think of even 10 of my friends who had voter identity cards or had voted in the previous elections. I started researching the registration process and approached the Election Commission of India for guidance, after which I set up a website.”

Soon, MYP started conducting workshops in schools about the voter registration process and sent out emails and WhatsApp broadcasts. While the initiative began with people known to Mr. Prabhu, word-of-mouth publicity helped. “The major challenge was with schools and colleges, because getting time slots and enough number of students to attend was extremely difficult. We conducted a few workshops at campuses like the Symbiosis Institute and the University of Mumbai,” said Mr. Prabhu.

He said the motivation behind MYP’s work stems from the need for educated voters in the country. “When I say educated voters, I mean voters who are politically aware and concerned about the issues of their constituency or Assembly. India should not have unaware voters,” he said. A low voter turnout due to unaware or unconcerned voters creates more problems, he said. “We have educated voters through the voters’ manual so that each individual understands his constituency, the role of elected leaders and the list of candidates. We assist everyone on a non-political basis to make sure everyone votes irrespective of his or her political views.”

MYP’ s next focus is the State elections in November, where the organisation will focus more on educating the candidates about their rights and then the candidates and their Assemblies. The goal will be to help more voters register themselves to ensure a higher turnout.

Mr. Prabhu said, “We will also work with various organisations and their managements so that first-time voters have some incentives. After the State elections, we plan on conducting seminars in Delhi so that the movement gets more coverage and students realise their duty towards voting.”

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Printable version | Sep 1, 2022 3:16:31 am | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/lok-sabha-2019/working-for-change-one-voter-at-a-time/article27006027.ece