As part of its unprecedented campaign, Election Commission will send 8 thousand volunteers in each and every house of all villages of Nepal to deliver invitation cards: You and your family members [who are registered at the Commission] are heartily invited to the nearby voting both for the Constituent Assembly election on November 22. No RSVP please!
An invitation to your family to vote. Sketch by Dewen via Kantipur
By Dinesh Wagle
People’s sacrifice brought them Loktantra
Constituent Assembly now rules their hearts
The Nepali version of this jingle, currently stored in the computers of select officials at the Election Commission (EC), will soon be broadcast over radio stations across the land.
The first airing of this jingle inviting people to Constituent Assembly (CA) poll booths on November 22, will mark the beginning of the biggest ever Voter Education Campaign (VEC) conducted by the EC. Unlike media campaigns by business houses promoting their products, the EC campaign will not only use all available forms of media but also deploy almost 8,000 people in door-to-door campaigns.
“We will explain to voters that their vote could have an impact on their own lives,” said Gopal Aryal, coordinator of VEC. “We will inform them of the technical aspects like how to ascertain if they can vote, what the ballot paper looks like, and how to cast votes in two ballot boxes. We want to tell them that their vote would make a difference.”
While it is upto the individual citizens to decide whether or not they make the trip to the voting booths, the EC plans to make them fully aware that this country’s biggest democratic exercise ever is taking place. Currently, 17.6 million voters are registered at the EC.
Constituent Assembly will write a Constitution
Only that will bring permanent peace in Nepal
Nepal is seeing the first national-level vote in eight years. During this period, the media has grown considerably. The number of FM stations has increased, and their coverage area expanded. Newspaper circulation and readership have grown, and so has the number of internet users in urban areas.
The growth in the number of TV channels is the biggest change witnessed during this period. There was only one TV station, a state-run one with terrestrial broadcasts, eight years ago.
Today Kathmandu and many parts of country receive signals from five additional stations, four of which have satellite uplinks. As part of the EC campaign for CA polls, be prepared for TV talks shows centered on the CA, apart from publicity videos. Additionally, the EC is working to improve its website which will be accessible from a new domain name (election.gov.np). To make the publicity inclusive, Aryal said advertisements will be dubbed in 16 to 17 languages.
Advertising campaign experts point out that the EC should be doing more, especially in areas beyond the reach of the media. Thirty-five percent of the population lives in such areas, said Ranjit Acharya, chief of Prisma Adveritising. “May be we can deliver the message via dohori songs, street plays or local cultural programs,” he said.
Let’s realise that the CA will decide the country’s fate
And let’s all go together to caste our votes
If this jingle isn’t to your liking, expect a personalised invitation card from the EC. The card, whose design will soon be finalized, will read something like, “Come one, come all…to cast your votes on Nov 22!”
EC-trained volunteers – one male and one female primary teacher for each village – will go door-to-door to deliver the invitation cards containing information on the location of polling booths and the invitees’ serial numbers in the voters registration list, among other things.
Those volunteers will definitely have some impact on ‘media dark area’ but Prijma’s Acharya stresses on the need for “an inverted pyramid campaign.” “Commission should also train those influential in society who regularly speak on TV/Radio talk shows and address mass meetings but don’t have adequate idea on CA.”