The Odisha Election Watch on Wednesday launched a “My Vote My Village” campaign to create awareness among the voters in view of the ensuing panchayat elections. Odisha Election Watch, Odisha Chapter of National Election Watch, in collaboration with Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) launched a massive voters’ awareness campaign “My vote My Village”, “My vote not for sale”. Many young volunteers of NSS Utkal University and social workers, activists from all over the state gathered here as speakers including popular Odia film actress Archita Sahu exhorted people to shun and expose money-for-vote practices of politicians.

Ensure a free and violence-free poll and promote ethical voting, they said. If sarpanch candidates are spending lakhs of rupees how will they provide clean and good governance, and what will happen to our villages, they asked. Inaugurating the campaign eminent freedom fighterBhabani Charan Pattnaik, said that the country needs dedication and sacrifice. The spirit of nationality need to be inculcated amongst youths, he said.

Maj.Gen Anil Verma, head of Association for Democratic Reforms, emphasized that one should not take democracy for granted. Good people need to be elected to ensure accountability in the governance. For this larger voter awareness is required. Gen.Verma also stressed on inclusion of political parties under Right to Information Act. Rabindra Nath Sahu, Secretary State Election Commission informed that in the forthcoming elections 2 crores 60 lakhs voters would elect more than one lakh five thousand representatives, hence this kind of voter awareness campaigns is the need of the hour. ”. Ananta Ch. Nayak (IAS), Addl CEO cum Addl Secretary spoke on the responsibilities of the voter to select appropriate candidates.

Ranjan Kumar Mohanty, coordinator of Odisha Election Watch said that the campaign would try to reach to almost all the panchayat Samiti of Odisha through various mass media programs. Amiya Bhushan Tripathy, former state police chief, presided over the meeting.

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