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Gabbar, memes & Rajkummar Rao — ECI targets ‘urban & youth’ population with its ‘Desh ka Form’ campaign

New Delhi: The Election Commission of India’s (ECI) bid to register voters under the ‘special summary revision’ of electoral rolls has entered its last leg, with the poll body pumping up its reach to citizens under the “Desh Ka Form” campaign.

Started 30 November, the campaign is running on print, TV and social media platforms and focuses on “urban and youth” population. It aims to draw the attention of existing and tentative voters to check or add their names in the electoral rolls.

In preparation for the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, the EC began the revision of electoral rolls on 27 October. The last date for filing claims and objections is 9 December this year. Following the disposal of claims and objections, the final electoral rolls will be published on 5 January, 2024.

“Desh Ka Form campaign aims to cultivate inquisitiveness and captivate the public’s attention, sparking curiosity about the significance of these essential forms (for registration and objections) by giving them a unique name and relating them with the country,” an EC official told ThePrint.

“Unlike previous campaigns where messaging used to be direct and highly informative about various (poll registration and updation) forms, the EC has this time adopted an indirect and impactful communication approach,” the official added.

By Tuesday, the campaign had received over 34 million impressions across social media platforms and over 25,000 missed calls on its helpline number, according to a second EC official.

In the run up to the campaign, the EC also appointed actor Rajkummar Rao and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar as ‘National Icons’ to reach out to the maximum number of people. While Tendulkar has been visible on newspaper advertisements, Rao has participated in the first-of-its-kind TV commercials for the same.

“His (Rao’s) active involvement, with more than eight hours of shoots in Mumbai, marks a milestone, as it is the first instance of a celebrity engaging directly in the shooting process for production of TV commercials for the EC,” said the second EC official, adding that Kumar was working pro-bono for the campaign.

“Earlier, TV commercials were produced with pre-recorded celebrity endorsements only. This celebrity collaboration adds authenticity and credibility to the campaign, making it interesting and impactful,” he told ThePrint.

Apart from tying up with radio jockeys and influencers who put videos on social media to maximise the reach of the campaign, the EC has also used creative material like memes to garner attention.

For instance, one of the animated videos published on social media Saturday features popular characters from the movie Sholay — the dacoit Gabbar and his partner Samba.

Kitne aadmi the (how many people were there)?” asks Gabbar, to which Samba responds: “Ek bhi nahin (not even one)”.

When Gabbar enquires where everyone has gone, Samba says: “To fill Desh ka Form”.

EC officials asserted that this campaign was different from the ones in the past because it involved multimedia and was more interactive, with helpline numbers and QR codes. Experts on digital space from Mumbai also collaborated with the poll body to design the campaign, they added.

While the EC has launched several campaigns and initiatives to urge people to get involved in the voting process, “urban and youth” apathy towards elections remains a major concern.

This was evident in the recent set of five assembly elections. For instance, in Telangana, which was reported to have 71 percent voter turnout, Hyderabad saw polling of just around 46 percent.

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)


Also Read: How do you tour a state and miss the BJP landslide? Congress believed its own propaganda


Source: The Print

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