5 cities, 1 day: campus citizens sign up as first-time voters
My vote counts: this was the clear message going out from college campuses in five major Indian cities on Wednesday. In a unique initiative demonstrating responsibility and empowerment, over 2,000 young men and women committed themselves to the world's largest democratic exercise — registering online for inclusion in the voters' list for the Lok Sabha polls beginning next month.
Most said they believed in the idea of elections, but would possibly not have voted if it hadn't been for I-Count, a joint initiative by The Indian Express and NGO Janaagraha to encourage 18-year-olds and above to sign up as first-time voters.
On an unusually hot day in Pune, as many as 855 students — the most among all cities — registered at camps set up by I-Count at the Symbiosis International University, Maharashtra Institute of Technology, Modern College and College of Engineering, Pune. Countless others, including many who had come from outside Pune, forgot the required documents, and had to return disappointed.
"I never thought it would be this easy to register myself as a voter. I will be voting for the first time and I am so excited," exclaimed Keertee Thorat, a second year MCA student of Modern College.
At four of the five camps, the 5 o'clock deadline for closing registrations had to be extended to accommodate every student.
In Chandigarh, nearly 600 boys and girls registered at the four I-Count camps at the Panjab University campus, Government College for Girls, Sector 11, SD College, Sector 32 and DAV College, Sector 10.
"Seeing the current state of our country, we should all raise our voice. I am determined to contribute in the working of my nation," said Amrita, a student of GCG-11.
In Kolkata, I-Count camps were set up at Presidency College, Lady Brabourne College, Bethune College and Jadavpur University. Over 220 students registered, 60 of them at Presidency alone.
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