Olympic Medalists Ms Saina Nehwal and Ms M C Mary Kom are the new National Icons of Election Commission of India to enhance voters’ participation in elections. They are the first female national icons to support ECI. They join the galaxy of existing national icons namely former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam and Indian cricket captain Shri M S Dhoni.
Promotional messages from these icons, in audio-visual formats, have been organised on the direction of the Commission by the Chief Electoral Officers of Andhra Pradesh and Manipur with collaboration from Doordarshan. The ready to use material were today sent to various states for promoting both voter turnout and registration.
Messages of Ms Nehwal and Ms Mary Kom will be used in Gujarat and all subsequent elections for enhancing voter turnout. There are separate messages from them for promoting enrollment of voters in various states and union territories, particularly among youth and women.
The two leading sportswomen have been roped in as part of ECI’s strategy to bridge the noticeable gap in youth participation and also the gender gap in electoral participation in several areas.
Commission has availed the services of a large number of celebrities from various walks of life in the last 12 general elections to the states as part of its Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation programme (SVEEP). Sportspersons, Singers, musicians, actors and other artists from the states and regions have come forward to support the voter participation efforts launched by the Commission which has resulted in consistently higher turnout in recent Assembly elections and historic turnout in some of them. ECI has also been getting enthusiastic support of a range of Governmental and non-Governmental organisations, Civil Society and the Media in enlisting citizen’s participation in the electoral process.