The Times of India

AHMEDABAD: In another offensive against tainted and corrupt candidates, the Youth Brigade - formed under TOI's I Lead India initiative - went arm-in-arm to various parts of the city, asking residents to take pride in exercising their franchise and get rid of criminals from politics.

The change-drivers urged voters to openly ask leaders of all parties why they give tickets to criminals and punish them by voting against them in the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha elections to be held in Gujarat on April 30.

The famous five appealed to people at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, Danny's Coffee Bar, Shivranjani crossroads, Helmet crossroads and Himalaya Mall to ensure the success of "clean politicians" and made them aware of the criminal backgrounds of politicians contesting from their areas.

According to a report released by civil society organization Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), of the 332 candidates contesting the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in Gujarat this year, 66 (around 20%) have criminal cases pending against them.

At a number of places, the city's young warriors targeted first-time voters and encouraged them to make Ahmedabad the highest voting city in the country.

"Our leaders commit crime but are still not punished. In some constituency or the other, most political parties have fielded candidates who are accused of corruption and have criminal backgrounds. Before elections, these parties claim that they are against corruption. But there's a difference in what they preach and what they practice," said Mihir Daswani, one of the brigade members.

The members also informed the public that the Election Commission has banned mobile phones inside booths. They also told them that for their convenience, EC has printed all details about their polling booths like the address and serial number on voters slips.

On voting day on Wednesday, brigade members Mihir, Viral Shah and Maliha Sareshwala will visit big residential societies with dhols and encourage residents to brave the summer heat and participate in the world's biggest festival of democracy.

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