The Odisha Election Watch (OEW) in collaboration with the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the PECUC here on Tuesday launched a voter awareness campaign “My Vote My Country: My Vote not for Sale” to build a conducive environment for free and fair elections.
National Election Watch national coordinator retired Major General Anil Verma emphasised on participation of youths in the campaign and said the voters should be well-informed and judge the candidates before casting their valuable votes. “Choose right and truthful candidates as the fate of the nation depends upon it,” he stressed.
Focussing on the objective of the awareness programme, former Chief Secretary and OEW member Sahadev Sahu said the initiative aims to create larger awareness among voters regarding electoral process, increasing voters’ participation, particularly youths and women, in the forthcoming general elections and Assembly polls and also to promote ethical voting.
OEW State coordinator Ranjan Kumar Mohanty said the campaign would be conducted in villages and cities covering all the 30 districts of the State through a mobile van campaign ‘Blue Button Express’ for 18 days to create voters’ awareness.
He also emphasised that voters should not be otherwise manipulated by the candidates to cast their votes. They should use their democratic right for creating a better future for the country without any bias; maybe it is caste, creed, religion or muscle and money power, he added.
The OEW and the ADR also launched a campaign titled “Hum Badlenge Apnaa Bharat” to sensitise children to perform their duties as responsible citizens of India and apprise them on challenges facing the Indian democracy.
Besides, the campaign’s theme song, directed by music director Premanand and singers Human Sagar and Dipti Rekha Padhy, posters and audiovisual materials were also released.
Earlier, the OEW and the ADR had requested all political parties that persons with serious criminal backgrounds and involved in heinous crimes should be debarred from contesting the elections.
Former Doordarshan Director Baikuntha Nath Panigrahi and OEW member Dr Seba Mohapatra, Olympian Anuradha Biswal, film producer Ajay Choudhury and Surjit Sen also spoke.