Source: 
The Times of India
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-04-01/mysore/38188540_1_street-play-democratic-reforms-mysore-palace
Date: 
01.04.2013
City: 
MYSORE

MYSORE: After giving it a shot in the polls to the Mysore City Corporation, the city-basedVivekananda Institute for Leadership Development is seeking to extend its canvas.

Aimed at educating voters to make value judgment when they go and stand at the polling booth during the assembly polls, the voter empowerment campaign is to help the public to make better choice. The V-LEAD, which is part of noted NGO Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement, in association with Association for Democratic Reforms on Monday launched the campaign on a larger scale.

It's trained a band of some 40 volunteers who are now taking the message to the masses: Don't get corrupted during the polls but choose a good representative. The band started with a street play at the start of the campaign next to Public Offices just outside the Mysore Palace seeking to convey the core message to the public. The 15 minute play is penned by the V-LEAD volunteers factoring in their experience when they launched the pilot project during the MCCpolls. Initially, the campaign will move around the three city constituencies starting withKrishnaraja on Monday. It will tour in Chamaraja on Tuesday and Narasimharaja on Wednesday.

Ahead of the campaign, the V-LEAD visited colleges and interacted with the students. It got some students to work as volunteers, who are now trained to reach across the twin message-don't forget to vote but don't succumb to any extraneous pressures. SVYM chief Dr R Balasubramaniam and political scientist Trilochan Shastry of Association for Democratic Reforms were part of the launch. All the three teams stage same street play which deals with how the voters are enticed by the politicians and what happens if they fall prey to it like how development suffer in case factors like caste and religion become priority over performance.

Initially we visited colleges and approached others who wanted to join the fight against corruption. The band of volunteers are a mix of professionals and amateurs, explains Jayashree of V-LEAD. "We've split the volunteers into three groups and staged street plays at places like Agrahara and surrounding areas. It'll continue for two days in other two constituencies on Tuesday and Wednesday," she stated. The street play will be staged at gram panchayats too but by different groups.

The campaign plans to collect details of the contestants like their educational qualification, wealth and criminal cases which they have to file in the affidavit and update the voters in the next phase. This is to help the voters make aware of the candidates' credentials.

The campaign will target youths asking them to get enrolled in the voters list and exercise their franchise judiciously. The NGO will do a study on the impact and plan to promote the idea elsewhere in Karnataka.

The V-LEAD and Association for Democratic Reforms have decided to keep a tight vigil to curb electoral malpractices in Mysore or Bellary districts. According to Trilochan Shastry of Association for Democratic Reforms, a dedicated team of volunteers will be on the job and will alert the poll officials against violations. We'll also file a complaint with the police, he stated. SVYM chief Dr R Balasubramaniam said they are approaching techies and staff working in corporate sector to join hands with them in the campaign. They will join us on weekends during our door-to-door campaign some time later, he stated.

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