Seeking to raise awareness among the electorate in Delhi that a photo voter slip can no longer be used as a valid standalone identification document during elections, the CEO office here will soon launch a campaign, officials said. The campaign comes ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and Delhi's seven parliamentary seats will go to polls on May 12.
The office of Delhi's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) has also stepped up its drive to raise awareness on the use of various mobile apps, including 'cVigil', and on the significance of voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPATs). 'cVigil', which stands for "citizens' vigil", is a unique Internet-based mobile application through which a person can send to poll authorities, geo-tagged videos and photos of illegal money being distributed or a hate speech being made during polls.
The app will work only during the time the model code of conduct is in place in a poll-bound state. The CEO office under its Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme are also preparing to start a campaign in both print and audio-visual media to raise awareness on the photo voter slip.
The Election Commission late February had said a photo voter slip shall no longer be used as a standalone identification document during elections, and a voter will have to carry any of the 12 approved identity cards to the polling station. The documents accepted for identification include -- EPIC (Electoral Photo Identity Card), passport, Aadhaar card, driving licence, service identity cards with photographs issued to employees by central and state government, PSUs, public limited companies, passbooks issued by a bank or post office, PAN card and smart card issued by the Registrar General of India under the National Populations Register.
"At present, we have intensified our campaign on raising awareness on use of 'cVigil' so that more number of people can report violations of the moral code of conduct for the polls. A radio spot has already been made and is being used. Besides, we have just launched a print advertisement on its use, in national dailies also," a senior official from the SVEEP programme said. "People can also report poll code violations through helpline -1950, or making a call to the district level or state-level control rooms. The purpose is to stop such violations as soon as possible," the official said.
The CEO office in Delhi has already roped in cricketer Rishabh Pant and ace tennis player Manika Batra as brand ambassadors for raising awareness ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. "Both sportspersons will also be soon seen in the print and audio-visual advertisements to raise awareness among voters," he said.
On photo voter slip, Delhi CEO Ranbir Singh had earlier said the slip will also carry a disclaimer in bold letters that it won't be accepted for the purpose of identification. "But, we will carry out awareness campaigns from our own side to tell voters that it is no longer valid as a standalone proof for identification," he said.
However, the Election Commission had also said such slips will continue to be prepared and issued to electors as part of the awareness building exercise. The senior official of the SVEEP programme said, for the first time, publicity material has been used on auto-rickshaws under the Voter Verification and Information Programme (VVIP) segment.
"We have used them on 3,000 auto-rickshaws across Delhi under VVIP," he said. The VVIP was launched last month by the Election Commission for citizens for verification of their names, new registrations, changes in the voter details and corrections in voter identity cards ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Besides, cinema halls and radio spots are also part of the campaign to raise awareness on voting and use of VVPATs. A VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for electronic voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.
A senior official of the Delhi CEO office had earlier said that for the "first time", VVPATs will be used at all polling stations in Delhi, and in a Lok Sabha poll here. "We have 20,435 VVPATs for 13,816 polling stations. As per EVMs, we have 34,953 Ballot Units and 19,002 Control Units. VVPATs were used only in Delhi Cantonment in 2015 Assembly polls. They were not used in 2014 Lok Sabha elections," the official had said.
There are nearly 1.39 crore voters in the electoral roll of the national capital as of now, an increase of nearly two lakh from the corresponding figure on January 18 this year.
(With inputs from agencies.)