Looking at the poor voter turnout in the past polls and keeping the 2014 general elections in mind, the University of Pune (UoP) has turned its attention on the seven lakh-odd degree college students, a majority of whom they believe are non-registered voters.
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the varsity has joined hands with the Election Commission (EC) authorities to enroll students from approximately 850 colleges, institutes and research centres affiliated to the varsity as new voters.
The varsity is making efforts to ensure that youngsters in Pune exercise their electoral franchise.
“It has been observed that most college students are eligible voters but since they are not registered, they cannot cast vote,” said UoP Boards of Students’ Welfare director Pandit Shelke, adding that EC has declared 2013 as the ‘year of electoral rolls’ in view of the upcoming 2014 Lok Sabha and legislative assembly elections.
UoP has decided to send circular to all colleges, institutes and research centres to ensure that students above 18 years of age and have not registered as voters should be registered in the special drive to be conducted on premises.
“We have appealed to college authorities to create awareness among students about voting. The registrar of the university has been nominated as the ‘ambassador’ for the drive and a nodal officer will be deployed in every college to look after the smooth functioning of student voter registration drive,” he said.
All educational establishments will be given directives about the procedure of enrolment of new voters and necessary training will be imparted to the college authorities who will be taking part in the process.
Modern College principal Rajendra Zunjarrao said that the college is yet to receive the circular from UoP, but will look forward to arrange such a drive on its premises. “Of the approximately 9,000 students that we have, 5,000 are above the age of 18 years. However, it is difficult to say how many of them have already registered themselves as voters,” he said.