Gurugram looks to memes to urge people to vote - Hindustan Times

Gurugram looks to memes to urge people to vote

May 10, 2024 01:55 PM IST

Deputy commissioner said the memes are being circulated on social media platforms such as X, Instagram, and WhatsApp and are targeting first-time voters

Gurugram: Salim urges Anarkali to wake up so that they can go to the polling station. Raj wants Simran to join him on the train because they have to go to their hometown to vote.

Gurugram has 2.5 million voters (Sourced Photo)
Gurugram has 2.5 million voters (Sourced Photo)

A little over a fortnight before polling day in the Gurgaon parliamentary seat, the Gurugram district administration has come up with a novel way to induce the 2.5 million voters in the seat to exercise their franchise — by crafting memes that use iconic Bollywood scenes to spread voter awareness.

Deputy commissioner Nishant Kumar Yadav said the memes, created by the public relations team, are being circulated on social media platforms such as X, Instagram and WhatsApp and are primarily targeting first-time voters to raise awareness about the elections on May 25.

The Gurgaon seat has traditionally recorded a good voter turnout — since the seat came into being in 2008, it has logged a turnout of 67.33% in the 2019 general elections, 71.58% in 2014, and 60.77 in 2009.

Officials said that they want the trend to continue, which is why they have decided to infuse a bit of filmy drama into the serious business of voting.

“We are using humour and modifying movie dialogues to capture the attention of the urban population and raise awareness about the importance of voting. We are trying to increase the voter turnout in the Lok Sabha elections,” Yadav said.

Officials said they prepare at least 100 dialogues every day to encourage residents to vote, ensuring a diverse range of content that resonates with different population segments.

For example, Salman Khan’s iconic dialogue from the 1989 movie Maine Pyar Kiya — “Dosti ka ek usool hai madam... No sorry, no thank you” — has been reimagined as a meme with the dialogue “Dosti ka ek usool hai madam... Chalo saath vote dene chalein”.

Yadav said the objective is not just to entertain, but also to educate and empower citizens. “We believe that this creative approach will resonate with the urban youth and motivate them to actively participate in shaping the future of our nation,” he said.

The administration has also collaborated with resident welfare associations (RWAs) to amplify the reach of these memes and raise awareness in their respective areas.

Amit Jindal, RWA president of Vipul Greens in Sector 48, said everyone is on board with the initiative. “Residents are sharing them on their social media platforms. The reach is increasing, and this is an initiative to attract more people and first-time voters,” he said.

Rajeev Sinha, president of the Essel Tower RWA, said the memes have a broad appeal across different age demographics. “Their widespread acceptance across age groups underscores the effectiveness of the initiative in resonating with a diverse audience and generating conversation about the importance of electoral participation,” he said.

In addition, the administration has also employed innovative strategies such as recording messages to be played in multiplexes to further reinforce the importance of voting.

All so that people remember that voting is their “Parampara, Pratishtha, Anushasan” (tradition, prestige, duty) — recalling the dialogue delivered by Amitabh Bachchan’s character in the 2000 film Mohabbatein.

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