Pop icon Remo Fernandez, mountaineer Bachendri Pal and environmentalist Sundar Lal Bahuguna were among the brand ambassadors who were on Tuesday honoured by the Election Commission for their contribution to voters' participation in the recent assembly elections in five states.
At a function held in Surajkund on the outskirts of Delhi at the start of a two-day national Conference of Chief Electoral Officers, the Commission felicitated seven persons and 21 partner agencies.
The EC's brand ambassadors included Remo Fernandez, Bachendri Pal, Sundar Lal Bahuguna, satirist Jaspal Bhatti, actors A Gokul and H Sarjubala and folk singer Malini Awasthi. They were presented with a scroll of honour and a shawl each.
Departments and agencies which were felicitated for significantly contributing to SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation) efforts of the Commission included National Service Scheme, Red Cross, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan, State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Punjab National Bank, Department of Field Publicity, Lucknow, Youth for Goa (NGO), ISTV Imphal, Jan Sanchar Chetna Trust, Dehradun, Civil Defence, Dehradun, Industry Association Uttarakhand, Shri Deven Bisht & Group from Uttarakhand, Doordarshan, and All India Radio.
While honouring the brand ambassadors Chief Election Commissioner SY Quraishi underlined the historic achievements in voters' participation in recent elections in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. He noted particularly the high turnout of women and youth and acknowledged the contribution of several national and regional icons in motivating voters, apart from the range of facilitation and education measures taken by the Commission.
Quraishi called upon banks and post offices to take up the electoral roll registration work making use of their contact with the customers.
There was record turnout of voters in the recent assembly elections and women outnumbered men in all the states following sustained educational and awareness campaigns.
The Chief Electoral Officers of the 35 States and Union Territories were present on the occasion besides top officials of Election Commission.
Election Commissioners VS Sampath and HS Brahma highlighted the qualitative improvements in recent assembly elections in five states and called for consolidation of these in future elections.
Director General of Election Commission of India Akshay Rout also spoke on the occasion. The brand ambassadors also presented glimpses of their campaign for voters’ participation in their respective States.
Former President APJ Abdul Kalam and Indian Cricket captain MS Dhoni are already promoting people’s participation in electoral process over the last two years at the Commission’s request, besides other icons like folk singer Sharda Sinha in Bihar, singer Zubin Garg and actress Nishita Goswami in Assam, percussionist Bickram Ghosh in West Bengal, athlete Preeja Sreedharan in Kerela, Rohini, Surya, Karthi, Suhasini Maniratnam, Gopinath, Vijay Antony, K Srikkanth, JM Ravi, KS Chtira, HS Prannoy, in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.