It was a great moment and a proud feeling when Election Commission of India invited our Newspaper ‘ Rajasthan Patrika’ to the prestigious event ‘ Matdata Mahotsava’ (Celebration of Democracy) to showcase our Voter awareness Campaign at the grand and global exhibition of ECI. The theme was No Voter to be Left Behind. The Matdata Mahotsava is the tribute by the Election commission of India to the enlightened voter of our nation with the agenda to display to the visitors all the preparations and the process that is carried out by the Election Commission and its officials to bring the ballot to the people.
Two members from our team including me, attended the Exhibition and represented our ‘ Jaago Janmat Campaign’ in New Delhi. ‘Jaago Janmat’ is a Voter Awareness Campaign of Rajasthan patrika, it won the National Media Award for ‘ Best Voter Awareness Campaign’ in 2013 organized by the ECI. Preparations began and finally the big day came. We arrived Delhi in the morning. The four-day gala festivities were being organized in the Central Park, Connaught Place, the Heart of Delhi. It was a chilly winter morning, the ice cold wind was blowing fiercely but our spirits were high and all set to portray our campaign. We were given a dome, a space to display the exhibits. The roof was made of tarpaulin which was hanging aside as it couldn’t stand the fierce blows of wind.
We tied up the tarpaulin covering with tapes, it took efforts but our enthusiasm won in the end and by the evening we set everything right and our stall was ready for the exhibition. The Inaugural Ceremony was set for the next day so we called it a day and went to our official guest house.
The next morning when we reached to the venue, a colourful sight was waiting for us as the venue was crowded with beautiful exhibits of different states of India. Dr. Nasim Zaidi, Chief Election Commissioner of India inaugurated the ceremony. Andaman & Nicobar, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Rajasthan and other states of India displayed ‘ Best Practices’ which was a good concept, informative and interesting as well. Countries like Republic of Moldova, Fiji, Nepal, Maldives and Bangladesh also participated in the exhibition.
Border Security Force (BSF) was a partner of ECI for this event. BSF showcased security cover provided by the paramilitary forces during elections. BSF and Army Bands inspired many as they played patriotic tunes and gave message, ‘ Exercise our right to vote, in an aware and ethical manner is the one of the best way to fulfill our duty towards the nation.’
Multitude of activities like debates, discussions, music, dance, street plays, games, quiz and contests during the event kept up the spirit of festivity. Graffiti Painting, Asmita Theatre Group, NityaRupa- performances by Sangeet Natak Akademy were some of the highlights of the programme, which engaged and entertained visitors of all walks of life.
State Cultural Performances & Performances by State Icons were also amazing. At the closing and felicitation ceremony, 26 State Icons including Cheteshwara Pujara ( eminent cricketer), Sharda Sinha, Malini Awasthi, Vicky Chauhan, Mamta Chnandrakar ( renowned folk singers), Apurvi Chandela, Meghna Malik, Rajeev Verma etc from various parts of the country were felicitated by the Chief Election Commissioner of India. Among the participating states, Delhi was voted as the best stall, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar were the first and second runner up respectively and were awarded for the same.
Last but not the least
It was a wonderful and learning experience for all of us . We met people, made new friends and celebrated the festival of Democracy. It was a pleasant surprise for us when we met an elderly visitor from Surat, Gujrat. He was visiting a relative in Delhi and came to see the exhibition. He shared his experiences with us and was full of joy to see our stall at the exhibition as he has been a regular reader of ‘Patrika Newspaper’. A young boy also came to meet and told us that he came specially to visit our stall as he is a devoted reader of Patrika and likes the newspaper because of its credibility. It was overwhelming and we loved the positive response of visitors. It was the last day of the exhibition so we wind up everything in the evening, said our Goodbyes to the neighboring stalls and friends. We had an amazing time and will miss the shared lunches, chit-chat while having tea and off course the friends we made during this period