Facilitation centres to woo student voters yet to be set up in colleges

March 24th, 2009 - 7:08 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 24 (IANS) The Election Commission’s initiative of setting up facilitation centres in colleges here to attract more young voters this general elections is yet to take off, though the last date for voter registration is just a week away.
Delhi’s chief electoral officer Satbir Silas Bedi had proposed to set up facilitation centres in colleges where a student can avail the voter registration form, fill it and and submit it. This initiative aimed at smoothening the cumbersome process of voter registration and at encouraging the youth to exercise their electoral rights.

However, an official of the Delhi chief electoral office Tuesday said they have yet not received any detail of any facilitation centre being set up in any university.

“Until now we have not received any detail or information about any such facilitation centre being set up in any college of any university,” the official told IANS.

Bedi, after a meeting with officials of six universities on March 13, said youth, in the age group of 18-19, were highly under-represented. There are 403,914 voters in this age group in the capital.

Among the universities participating in the meet were University of Delhi, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Milia Islamia, Jamia Hamdard, Indira Gandhi National Open University and Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University.

Kalpana Bhrara, who represented University of Delhi in the meeting, doubted the efficacy of the effort now.

“Probably such initiatives will work for the next elections. I personally think that roping in the students union and spreading awareness about voting in the university website will go a long way into sensitising students.

“But I don’t think these initiatives will achieve much now. Most universities will have their exams in a few weeks’ time and in Delhi University, classes have already been suspended and students are on their study break. There’s just no time now,” Bhrara told IANS.

Satish Misra, an outstation student of Indraprastha university, said he was looking forward to getting registered in the electoral roll here after reading about the proposed facilitation centres in the newspaper.

“It’s been three years that I have been living in Delhi, but I keep shifting my accommodation which becomes a problem if you want to get registered in the electoral roll here. After reading about the facilitation centres, I thought that the details in my form can be verified by the university authorities, but now the last date for registration is just a week away, my problem is back to the square one. Despite wanting to, I don’t think that I will be able to vote,” Misra said.

The general election for the next Lok Sabha will be held in the seven seats of Delhi May 7.

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