Pune: A multimedia exhibition on the theme “Voter Registration – The First Step of Democracy” highlighting the significance of participating in the electoral process as a voter and showcasing the grandeur of Indian elections, was inaugurated by the Chief Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey at Savitribai Phule Pune University in Maharashtra today. The three-day exhibition organized by the Central Bureau of Communication (CBC) under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, in association with the District Election Officer, Pune, is a voter awareness building exercise being undertaken on the occasion of nation-wide launch of Special Summary Revision 2023 today.
The DEO Pune has also set up special registration camps to enrol young voter at the exhibition venue. The topic of Indian Elections and Voters Registration have been highlighted through CBC’s Virtual Reality kiosks displaying polling stations, Flip book on Indian Election, an Augmented Reality touch wall, Digital display of SSR 2023 forms and sound show on election stories, apart from a separate section on ECI new initiatives, display of SVEEP scopes and a wall on Indian Democracy. Also, the song and drama artistes of CBC put up colourful performances on ECI theme of “No Voter To Be Left Behind”.
Speaking on the occasion, the CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar praised CBC for the colourful exhibition mounted up by them. He stated that even in this age of social media, CBC outreach activities are an extremely powerful medium of communication. He said that the country’s rich cultural heritage of folk music – lok sangeet and lok katha is so varied and wide that it will take years to go through them all. These cultural tools keep the country united like a binding force, he added. The CEC also stated that CBC exhibitions and folk performances can always be useful for Election Commission in their voter awareness campaigns.
In his message to the youth of the country, the CEC urged them to become voters as it is critical for a democracy. “Look at the demography of this country. Look at this huge country in which we believe in accommodation, we believe in discussion, we believe in resolving all our issues through participative elections. And that is possible only when we vote”. Power also transits through the tremendous force of the ballot seamlessly, he added. Election gives us continuity of the system and the resilience which the youth and society has, he said.
Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey said that Pune is a cultural centre of India and Pune University has a rich history associated with names of luminaries like Gopal Krishna Gokhale. Hence the Election Commission decided the start the voter awareness campaign on the launch of SSR 2023 from Pune.
Shri Pandey stated that India is the biggest democracy having a demography which is bigger than the whole of Europe, North and South America. He added that a democracy is strengthened when all eligible voters are registered, voters can exercise their franchise fearlessly and elections are conducted in a free and fair manner. He informed that at the time of independence there was only around 16 percent literacy in the country, yet people went to vote. Our first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad had said that the countrys people know to exercise their democratic rights. He further added that India is the strongest democracy having universal adult suffrage, where women outnumber men in casting votes at many places. Stating that India has a high percentage of young population, he said, this democracy can be strengthened only with higher number of young eligible voters registration. Hence, the Commissions goal is to see that no young voter is left behind, he further stated.
CBC’s Additional Director General Smt. Ranjana Dev Sarmah delivered the welcome address. Smt. Sarmah stated that CBC has been an integral part of the communication and outreach campaigns of the Election Commission of India through its regional and field activities under the Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation programs. With its field offices at around 150 locations across the country, the CBC has closely worked with the ECI for various communication campaigns in the country. From its folk artist troupes and field officers camping in remote villages to make the citizens of this country aware of their rights and responsibilities, to organizing campaigns using well-advanced technological components to reach out to the young masses, the CBC has used all its resources to spread the message to the last mile, she added.
DVDs of “First Ink”, the award winning docu-film produced in-house by Films Division was presented to the CEC by the director K.S. Shridhar. The film is on the life of Late S. S. Negi, first voter from Himachal Pradesh, who recently passed away. It is being showcased at the multi-media exhibition in Pune as a tribute to Late Shri Negi.
The CEC and EC took a round of the displays and also interacted with the young voters present on the occasion, to motivate them to get registered as voters and participate in the electoral process. Chief Electoral Officer, Maharashtra Shri Srikant Deshpande and District Election Officer, Pune Dr. Rajesh Deshmukh were also present on the occasion. Savitribai Phule Pune University’s VC Prof. (Dr.) Kalbhari Kale was also present amongst the dignitaries.