A group of dedicated students in Mumbai are doing everything they can to make sure the city shows up in impressive numbers to vote in the upcoming Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) elections. The students from various colleges banded together to kick-start an aggressive digital campaign to get their word out: in order to have a voice in the democracy, one simply has to vote.
And all they are asking for is fifteen minutes of your time.
This group of 40-50 students are all first-time voters themselves from six colleges across the city – Jaihind, Swami Vivekanand College, Mithibai College, KC and Government Law College. But it wasn’t something they planned meticulously.
They grouped together loosely to harness the power of social media to reach out to as many people as possible.
Image source: Facebook
“As youngsters, we are all extremely active on social media. So thought it would be great if we could combine all that we know about reaching out to people digitally and create a campaign around it,” says Krisha Shah, a student from Jaihind college and one of the organisers.
And thus the Vote for Mumbai Facebook page was created.
Krisha is quick to point out that this campaign is something that is not connected with their college curriculum but rather something these students decided to take up once as part of their own civic duty. With help from an alumnus of Jaihind College, this team has learnt to put together a comprehensive and aggressive digital strategy that includes publishing multiple videos, photo posts, and more.
As first-time voters, the team wants to reach out to others just like themselves but really, this is about reaching everyone, according to Krisha. Since a lot of these students have also interned with media companies during their semester break, they are also using that knowledge to put it to good use.
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“In 2012, there was only 45% voter turnout at the BMC elections. Those numbers are abysmal. At that time, we were too young to vote. But now we are eligible and we should,” she notes.
Image source: Facebook
Of course, it’s not just online reach that the group plans to do. It is also looking at mobilising people on-ground through direct engagement. “We will be going to colleges and malls and handing out flyers to people there and just talking to them. If you want to affect change, you have to be part of it. And the youth should an integral say in how the society is governed,” she adds.
The campaign will be bookended by February 21, when the BMC elections will be held. The process of engaging with people about the importance of voting has also been an eye-opening experience for Krisha and her friends.
Some dates are important even though we don’t know themहमें दुनियाभर की तारिखें याद हैं, पर जो दिन हमारे प्रिय मुम्बई के लिए सबसे ज़्यादा ज़रूरी है, शायद हम उसे भूल गए हैं – http://bit.ly/VFM-17 #VoteforMumbai
Posted by Vote For Mumbai on Thursday, February 2, 2017
“I saw the amount of the money that BMC gets every year and so much of it gets wasted. That was something I hadn’t expected. I think people need to wake up in this country. We are the ones who are going to have to make a difference. There are polling wards everywhere. It really just takes fifteen minutes of one’s time. Just go and vote.”
And make that difference.
Contact Vote for Mumbai here