Cartoons that will make you want to go vote

Mysuru: Where would India feature on a list of the top 25 countries with the highest voter turnout in the world? In 2104 general elections, the average election turnout over all nine phases was around 66.38%, the highest ever in the history of Indian general elections. Compare this statistics with Belgium where 87.2% of voting-age citizens marked their ballots in 2014.

Low voter turnout in India is nothing new. Of course, it’s a problem almost as old as Indian democracy itself. Reasons include disenfranchisement of some voter groups, lack of trust in politicians and political institutions, not to mention a decline in civics education.

But for social and environment activist from city Vasanthkumar Mysoremutt, waking up the voter in slumber is his foremost duty when election season arrives. He works with a mission and he admits that it is not just enough to say, ‘Go Vote’. “You have to justify that.” And to justify that, he has chosen a medium of cartoons to convey the to the point messages that inspires one to go and vote.

Is there any democracy without cartoons poking fun at politicians? Cartoons and cartoonist can play a major role in creating awareness among voters and increasing voter turnout. Their work can be used to send out a strong message that depicts the disadvantages of not voting.

If the Election commission has chosen cricketer Rahul Dravid as its brand ambassador to woo the voters to exercise their franchise, Vasanthkumar Mysoremutt, through his cartoons, is injecting a dose of humour into the serious business of elections in his bit to generate awareness among voters.

With a common theme “Vote You Must’, he has drawn cartoons that conveys messages like — ‘vote for your country’, ‘do not backstab democracy’, ‘vote for your future, greater participation for a stronger democracy’, ‘participate and strengthen democracy’ and ‘India is a young democracy and its future belongs to the youth of the nation’.

Some of the cartoons carry messages such as ‘Angry with politics, express it’, ‘Vote you must — otherwise you will be held responsible for the future political confusion in the minds of your children’, ‘Vote you must even if you are confused’, and ‘Whether to vote or not — If you don’t, somebody might, better you vote’.

Speaking to Star of Mysore, Vasanthkumar Mysoremutt says: “The right to vote is the foundation of a healthy, functioning democracy. The vote is your voice and it is the most powerful tool at your disposal to not only affect change in your neighbourhood or State, but to create a better India.”

“Voting is a big, big deal, but there are times, a lot of us don’t step out to do it because the whole process seems too daunting or confusing. One must always that election is a golden opportunity to eliminate criminals and corrupt elements from society,” he said.

People, especially youngsters think that their votes do not matter. Voting is a way to clean up the rot in politics and society. “You have the power to change the system. It is time you come out and vote for a stronger India,” he added.

It has been a tendency among voters, especially in the urban areas, to treat the voting day as a day of rest. While skipping the vote may not seem to cause any harm, the long-term consequences are disastrous.

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