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Others Elections 2009: Catching ’em young

Elections 2009: Catching ’em young

Author | Manish Ranjan | Thursday, Apr 02,2009 8:55 AM

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Elections 2009: Catching ’em young

The countdown has begun not just for the Indian Premier League, but the ‘Indian Political League’ as well. The Lok Sabha elections this time are expected to attract a huge number of young voters, especially first time voters. Youth connect has become a major strategy for political parties, leaders, ad agencies and media houses alike. exchange4media has been following up this interesting trend and reports on some further developments and initiatives.

Youth-centric channel UTV Bindass is urging young voters to exercising their voting rights via 360-degree campaigns like ‘I change, India changes’, ‘Ungli Utha, bindass vote kar’ and ‘Natak kar, desh badal’.

Elaborating on the idea behind launching these campaigns, Zarina Mehta, CEO, UTV Bindass TV, said, “Inspired by the lines of the father of the nation, “Be the change you want to see in the world”, UTV Bindass is urging the Indian youth to participate in the process of creating a change. While UTV Bindass would look at various issues that affect the youth of today, the first initiative under this movement is ‘Voting’. In the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, there were 56 per cent of registered voters of which only 12.5 per cent voters were from the young age group. Therefore, it is very important to encourage the youth of India to cast their votes.”

The channel has tied up with various media organisations for the campaigns. Mehta informed, “Aaj Tak and Star One are our television partners, PVR is our multiplex partner, Future Group is our retail partner, Pioneer is our outdoor partner, while PlanetM is our on ground partner.”

Bindass plans to involve 70 colleges in seven cities for the ‘Natak kar, desh badal’ street theater contest, with the grand finale to be held in Mumbai on March 31. The winners of the contest will get a chance to express their views directly to the Prime Minister.

Bindass is also going digital with the poll initiatives. Mehta said, “We have a website, www.bindass.tv/ichange, which will provide a platform for Indians to voice their opinions and have relevant information regarding the elections. I Change’s website has tied up with Jaago Re website, which enables the use of the Jaago Re platform to power voter registrations, provide important information on voting, election news, etc.”

Besides media houses, political parties, leaders, and ad agencies, non-governmental organisations, too, have joined the fray to urge people to vote. ‘Exercise franchise of good governance’ is one such NGO based in Delhi, which recently launched a campaign – ‘Respect your Vote’ – to encourage and promote voting.

Delhi University, one of the hotbeds of the Capital’s youth activities, is also launching a campaign for the student community and create awareness.

And where there are ‘netas’ (political leaders), can ‘abhinetas’ (actors) be far behind? In order to draw huge crowds at political rallies, various parties are roping in popular actors and actresses. Recently, actor Salman Khan was seen at a Congress rally, jiving on the dais much to the delight of the crowd. The more sedate Aamir Khan has been quietly, but firmly, urging the Indian youth to come out and vote and be a part of the change.

Filmmaker Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, more known for its ‘chiffon romances’, has joined hands with Mukul Deora (son of Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora) to make an ad film on the elections to create awareness amongst the youth to cast their votes. According to official sources close to the development, “The duration of the movie would be of 90 seconds. The film will be directed by Tarun Manshukhani (of ‘Dostana’ fame), and scripted by Mukul Deora. The star cast would include the hot young Bollywood faces of today – John Abraham, Ranveer Kapoor, Imran Khan, Deepika Padukone and Sonam Kapoor. The film would be launched very soon.”

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