In a bid to boost the flagging response towards the voter registration drive in the city, the District Election Commission yesterday invited city-based Ganesh mandals and dhol-tasha groups to register and also as a means to attract the public and create awareness among the masses.
The registration drive began on October 1 and is to conclude on October 31. So far, 43,000 registration forms have been distributed and yesterday, around 25 heads of mandals and dhol-tasha groups turned up and 1,500 registration forms were given out. These forms are expected to be submitted before the October 31 deadline.
The plan to draw in large numbers however, failed to have full effect as the commission had informed the heads of the mandals and dhol groups at the last moment, and as a result the turnout was not as expected.
The decision came as the drive evoked low response from residents. The District Collectorate then decided to take help from various governmental institutions and NGOs to create awareness among the people.
“Considering the low response from the youngsters, we have decided to approach the dhol-tasha groups, which can then reach out to a larger number of youngsters creating awareness. We decided to conduct the campaign and distribute the necessary forms for voters to register,” said District Deputy Election Officer, Apurva Wankhede.
Meanwhile, heads of the dhol-tasha groups were disappointed when they were invited at the very last moment, which left them with little time to convince the youngsters to register.
“We have over 700 members in our group and 500 of them are yet to enrol their names. The process of filling up the necessary forms and enclosing the required documents is lengthy and could easily take about a week,” said president of Nadbrahma dhol-tasha group Atul Behere.
He added that he had less time and only managed to fill up 100 forms, which he then submitted to the District Collector. When asked why the election office approached heads of these groups at the last moment, Wankhede said the decision was taken at a meeting conducted by District Collector Vikas Deshmukh on October 18. The idea was to take the help of these groups to make the drive successful.
However, as the district election office did not have the contact numbers of the heads of these groups, the campaign was delayed.