Delhi Election Commission has set the ball rolling for the municipal polls. Elections for the three new corporations will be held on April 15 and the Model Code of Conduct would come into effect from March 5. In a first, the poll panel has planned a special door-to-door campaign to ensure a good voter turnout.
Apart from advertising in newspapers and television, the commission will organize a massive exercise in which close to 7,500 booth-level officers will individually deliver invites to all voters in their respective areas. The invites will have details of the polling station, booth number and a message asking people to use their right to vote.
“A lot of people don’t vote as they are not sure about their names being in the list. A week before the election, our officers will hand over the invites to voters. We don’t want voters to end up in a situation like Arvind Kejriwal,” said Rakesh Mehta, state election commissioner. Kejriwal couldn’t cast his vote during UP elections as his name was not there in the voter’s list.
The last MCD elections recorded a poor voter turnout of 42 per cent. However, the poll panel is hopeful that this time the turnout will be more than 60%. “People should exercise their franchise as the civic agency is a part of their lives from cradle to cremation. Municipal councillors solve our day-to-day problems,” said Mehta. To ensure more people come out to vote, the commission decided to hold the elections on April 15 as April 5, 6 and 7 are holidays.
The poll panel is also planning to organize walkathons, street plays and seminars to motivate people. “We are talking to a few companies regarding the campaign and looking at newer ways to reach out to maximum people. We will finalize the campaign soon,” said Mehta.
Following the delay in the announcement of election dates due to court cases, the EC has decided to notify the municipal election on March 19. Candidates can file their nominations between March 19 and March 26. The result will be declared on April 17 and new corporations will be formed by April 21.
With close to 112 lakh people voting for three different corporations, the commission has a mammoth task ahead of it -updating the electoral rolls. “We have given detailed maps of the corporations and wards to returning officers so that the boundaries of the new bodies are not crossed,” said Mehta.