Strengthening Democracy
Team #DeshKeLiye has reached out to over 1 lakh people and got over 15,000 new registrations. It has also designed an election pledge asking people to verify their names in voter list and avoid last minute disappointments
Team #DeshKeLiye is an initiative of a group of IT professionals & Entrepreneurs in Bengaluru with an objective of creating awareness about voting and increasing vote percentage. In this general elections, they have focused on increasing the number of first time voters and thereby help them participate in the festival of democracy.
Team DeshKeLiye was one of the harbingers of the ‘Vote Maadi’ campaign which caught the imagination of the voters in Karnataka before the 2014 elections and earlier to that during the 2013 assembly elections. ‘Vote Maadi’ had become the buzz word to urge people to vote and the contribution of Team DeshKeliye in this has been phenomenal.
An awareness programme organised by Team #DeshKeLiye 
How they Work?
The Team has worked for many years now in creating voter awareness using various mediums and platforms. They also employ innovative methods like flash mobs, street plays and arts to attract crowds especially the youth in malls and colleges. They have also been very active on social media in their outreach to the youth and those active online. They have been active on the ground too with the volunteers going from door to door, educating voters about the importance of voting. The present campaign for the general elections began in February and so far have covered over 35 big apartment from Bellandur, Hennur, Banshankari and KR Puram areas of the city.
The 100 % Polling, Cent Percent?
A two storey high finger-shaped balloon in front of the busy MMDA office complex in Chennai — complete with the indelible ink mark on it reminds thousands daily of the upcoming general election. This is part of the government efforts to push for 100 percent voting. Every other day media reports school kids display “100% VOTE” on playground. In one district the school children were asked to create awareness by asking the people in their villages to cast their vote on the D-Day. In another district, more than 400 women gathered around a lighted camphor over which they swore to cast their vote without fail. Differently abled people hit the roads to spread the importance of casting one’s vote. The prasadam bags at temples, the gas cylinders delivered to households, the receipt slips at ATM machines, all had tags of 100% vote. (Even a court hearing petitions to postpone polling date had asked of the EC how 100 per cent polling is possible with Madurai Chithirai festival on poll date. The EC explained that polling in Madurai could be extended upto 8 pm while in all other constituencies it will be an extension of one hour that is, upto 6 pm on April 18, since the poll date falls on a summer day. Yes, the target of 100 per cent polling remains unaltered. — VSK Tamil Nadu
Team DeshKeLiye has worked with educational institutions to raise awareness among first-time voters. Institutions like Oxford Science college, Azim Premji University, Vemana Institute of Technology, Shakuntala Devi International Institute of Management Sciences and Pre-University have been covered by the team. Along with conducting drives in colleges, the team has focused on IT companies in their awareness drives. Given the success of their campaigns, many IT companies have themselves approached Team DeshKeLiye to conduct drives in their premises for the benefit of their employees.
Their presentations have been received well for its impeccable statistics and research. Videos on demonstration of the way EVM works and is used during voting has been part of their outreach. Scripted plays have also been part of their public programme conducted in auditoriums or colleges.
Unique Theme Song
The Team’s theme song on the importance of voting has become a hit in Karnataka, more so on social media. The foot-tapping number ‘DeshKeLiye Vote Daalo Mere Yaaro’ narrates the reasons for which we need to vote for the country and also conveys the process of registering as a voter or change in details. The unique theme song also includes responses from volunteers on why they would vote in the upcoming elections and the need to increase voting percentage. The theme song has become viral on WhatsApp groups and Facebook and has been well received. The song is used by many RWA’s and groups in their campaign to increase vote percentage.
Response and Impact
So far the team has reached out to over 1 lakh people and got over 15,000 new registrations. The team has also designed an election pledge asking people to verify names in the voter list, to avoid last minute disappointments. The pledge lists important dos and don’ts for the upcoming elections. The pledge has been appreciated by all those who have taken it and is also serving as a reminder to all.
The success of the initiative depends on its volunteers. The success of Team DeshKeLiye is due to its volunteers. The group which started with about 15 people is today more than 100, most of them who are below 35. This indicates the success of the initiative as also the importance of involving the youngsters in strengthening democracy.