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Madhya Pradesh poll officials target youths

Sunday June 05, 2011 03:06:04 PM, Shahnawaz Akhtar, IANS

Bhopal: After head counting the 72.5 million residents of Madhya Pradesh for Census 2011, election officials in the state are once again knocking at every door -- this time to collect e-mail IDs and phone numbers to keep the voters updated and motivate youths to get enrolled.

"The Election Commission of India had given this instruction to every state, but we hope we would lead in the work and complete it by January next year," Joint Chief Electoral Officer Gyaneshwar B. Patil told IANS.

After getting the requisite contact details, the state election commission will give out election-related information to voters through mails and SMS from the 2013 general elections.

"While several states went to the polls recently, some others would go in the near future. But here there is no election in the near future and our booth-level officers are free," Patil said.

He says the reason behind the initiative is that voters often complain of not receiving their voter ID cards, voter slips containing booth numbers and their voter list number. With implementation of this new scheme, such type of complaints will go down the drain and the voters would get swift information at any place.

They also plan to send out information regarding change of booths, urge youngsters to get their cards done, and motivate the people to exercise their franchise.

"The contact details would help us make direct contact with voters. In Madhya Pradesh, the 18-year-olds are ill-informed; so we can motivate and inform them," said Patil.

The information will also help the Election Commission to augment the voting percentage.

"Instructions in this regard have recently been issued to all the district returning officers and the work has already begun in some places," Patil added.

In Dhar district, the process has already been completed. The information is to be garnered from both rural and urban areas.

The target is that the voter list, to be published Jan 1, 2012, would have the e-mail IDs and telephone numbers of the voters below their names.

According to Census 2011, the population of Madhya Pradesh, comprising 50 districts, is 72.5 million. But state election commission officials say that the total number of voters in the state are just 38 million. They believe the number should be over 50 million, but since the young voters have not got themselves registered, the number is less.

Given the growing menace of bulk messages, election officials say it is not mandatory for people to give out their contact details, and the information would only be used for election-related purposes and not shared with any other agency.

(Shahnawaz Akhtar can be contacted at





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