Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaign has been launched in the state by the Election Commission of India for the forthcoming assembly elections. Special activities and implementation strategies were being adopted for enrolling young and female voters and ensuring their participation in electoral process. This was disclosed by Akshay Rout, Director General, Election Commission of India (ECI) while presided over the meeting regarding SVEEP campaign organized by Election Department of Himachal Pradesh, here today.

Akshay Rout said that main purpose of this campaign was to inform, motivate and facilitate every eligible voter, who had attained the age of 18 years on 1st June, 2012 to cast their vote. Campaign would also focus on registration of eligible voters. He said that campaign would handle all aspects of voters’ awareness and education aimed at improving the electoral participation. Election Commission was engaging National and State level icons of social, cultural and sports field to promote voters’ participation using audio-visual appeals. He said that various Departments of Himachal Pradesh and other partner agencies would also be involved to achieve the targets of this campaign.

Rout directed the State Election department to organize seminars, workshops and lectures on values of participatory democracy and sensitisation programmes for voters in collaboration with other departments and youth organizations like NCC, NSS and other NGOs. Election Department would also distribute information kits to sensitize the voters regarding elections and value of their vote. He said that Himachal Pradesh has the history of high voters’ turnout and hoped that this trend would continue in the forthcoming assembly elections also.

Chief Electoral Officer, Himachal Pradesh Narinder Chauhan said that there were 4515604 electors in the State as on 9 August, 2012 which includes 2314235 males and 2201369 females. Out of this 104240 electors are in the age group of 18-19 years. He said that the department would ensure free and fair election in the State and every effort would be made to sensitize the electors about their voting rights. He said that icons engaged for SVEEP campaign would perform various promotional activities so as to change the voters’ behaviour.

He said that a comprehensive ‘Know your Booth Level Officers (BLO)’ was launched by the department. To publicise the details of BLOs to the general public and particulars of BLOs of all the 7252 polling stations was available on website. He said that a Voter Facilitation Centre was also established at Gaiety Theatre, Shimla and an elector can also avail the toll free telephone number 1950 facility.

Earlier, Economic and Statistical Department, H.P. gave a presentation on Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour, Belief and Practices (KABBP) of electors with regard to their participation in elections. P.L.Negi, Additional Chief Electoral Officer, H.P. proposed vote of thanks. Padma Angmo, Deputy Secretary, ECI, Senior Officers of the various departments, Representatives of NCC and NGOs were also present among others in the meeting.