The evening of February 13th witnessed a significant turnout of youth from various colleges in the city at the Freedom Park, Bangalore. The objective was to launch the 1 Million New Votes Campaign across 31 colleges in Bangalore.
Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) in association with Inventure Academy, a Pre-K to 12 international school located on Whitefield-SarjapurRoad, launched the campaign to a high energy, youth filled gathering. Inspiring talks by well-known personalities from the city were on offer to an eager and expectant audience. Some of the speakers included included Mr. Mohandas Pai – V.P, BPAC; Ms. Revathi Ashok- Chief Coordinating Officer, BPAC; Ms. Nooraine Fazal – CEO and Trustee, Inventure Academy and B.PAC member, Mr. Laxmi Narayan- Commissioner BBMP and several members of the media.
Inventure Academy joined hands with B.PAC in launching this campaign since the school believes in equipping students with skills that will make them aware and empowered global citizens of tomorrow. “Our students must be aware of their social and civic responsibilities. They need to be the change agents striving to reform the nation and endeavoring to make this city better” said Ms. Mallika Sen- Principal, Inventure Academy. There were 10 students from the Inventure Academy senior school who attended the event, along with members of the faculty. It was brilliant exposure for the Inventure students as part of the school’s Wider World Program, to the need for all citizens to vote, particularly raising awareness among the youth to shun apathy and make informed choices about choosing political leaders who will drive the country.
Mr. Laxmi Narayan, BBMP Commissioner, opened the evening with some hard hitting facts: Bangalore has around 1 million youth, out of which only a dismal 6% have registered so far. The scope for increased voter registration is therefore, immense. He urged the youth to become a part of the electoral process, exercise their choice to elect the right candidate and make a difference. The BBMP would ensure that drop boxes are kept in college campuses and forms are sent to them. All students have to do is fill up the forms and put them in the drop box and check the registration status online.
Mr. Pai talked about the importance of civic awareness and about the awareness of the electoral process among the youth. He explained that India for the first time since 1947 will have 50 Crores of voters below the age of 40, all having been born after 1972. 12 crore voters belong to the age group of 18-22 years and make for 15% of India’s voting population. The power of equation has changed. It is this 15% who have the power to change the country. Political parties understand this and are all working hard on their manifestos to include things that the youth want and care about. This is a true paradigm shift. He urged the youth to understand how critical their role is in making a difference in important areas of clean politics, economic growth, better jobs and a good quality of life. “For the sake of your own future and your own good, register today and ensure you cast your vote on the day of the election”. Mr. Pai closed his talk by taking a commitment from the audience to volunteer for a month in sync with a candidate of their choice, so they could understand the nuances of the election process.
Revathi Ashok, Chief Coordinating Officer for BPAC took the stage next and spoke about BPAC being an apolitical civic organization that believes in good and clean politics. She said BPAC for the first time introduced the concept of endorsing candidates, after checking their background, performance etc. She stressed the importance of ‘Civic Engagement’ and urged all to participate in the electoral process and not be mere bystanders. “Let’s not disenfranchise ourselves. Let us engage in Making Bangalore a better city by making the most of this massive registration drive”, she said.
Ms. Fazal came next and had the audience in rapt attention when she spoke about the kind of India we all wanted to live in: an India that enjoys Political Freedom, Economic Freedom, Inclusive Growth, Universal Equality, Ethical Capitalism and freedom from corruption. She closed her talk by informing the audience that 8% of India will vote for the first time – “Spread the power of voting. Be the change and make the most of this opportunity”
After these talks, Vasundhara Das and Roberto Narain enthralled the audience with a sensational Drum Jam session. Every single person joined in and stood united. Freedom Park came alive and reverberated with the beats – a befitting closure indeed, to a great beginning.
See the following Press Releases about the event: