The Times of India

MYSORE: Swami Vivekananda Youth Movement (SVYM) is striving to create awareness among the electorate about the importance of their votes.

SVYM and volunteers from Vivekananda Institute for Leadership Development, in association with Delhi-based Association for Democratic Reforms, have started a campaign to creating awareness among citizens to strengthen the democracy.

The campaign comes under SVYM's movement for empowerment of democracy. The movement tries to make people understand about their rights and duties. They have been driving home related messages by staging street play, conducting seminars, screening videos, distributing pamphlets and holding jaathas.

With urban local body (ULB) elections round the corner, SVYM has started 'No note for my vote' campaign. As selling of votes reigns supreme during elections, SVYM wants to tell people that "selling of votes is also a form of corruption".

Speaking to TOI about the campaign, SVYM founder Dr Ramaswami Balasubramaniam selling votes is akin to selling democracy. "We have to be responsible, and select right candidates who can work for us," he added.

Around 200 volunteers, by forming several groups, have been visiting houses and shops at Subramanya Nagar near Hebbal's Mayura and Cauvery Circle, labours' block, Ramanahalli, Metagalli and other parts of the city to highlight the necessity to cast votes to right candidates, and not to sell their votes.

Volunteers visited houses and explained to people not to miss the elections, and to vote the right candidate, irrespective of political party and caste to which (s)he belongs. They have also been asked to question candidates who come for campaign in their ward, about his/her educational qualification and track record.

Volunteer Chandrika Shetty of V-LEAD said that there is a need to change the mindset of people to see a change in society.

The volunteers also asked people to get their voter's ID. They distributed pamphlets and pasted stickers, which said 'No note for my vote', on houses.

Prior to the campaign, R Balasubramaniam had given a lecture on the same at various colleges in the city. After elections to ULBs, the campaign will be continued till parliamentary elections. During parliamentary elections, people can log on to www.myneta.ifo to get info about candidates' affidavits.

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