Voters’ queue at one of the polling booths during the Mhaswad Municipal Council elections.
Usually, I’m not very interested in local elections or politics. But, recently I got a chance to observe Mhaswad Municipal Council elections real close. Few days back, elections were carried out for 165 municipal councils from Maharashtra and Mhaswad was one of them. Working with a community radio got me involved in the elections and working on various aspects like spreading awareness about voting and all that. We geared up as soon as the elections were declared and took up the initiative by broadcasting schedule of the elections.
The next thing was to analyse and broadcast code of conduct during the election period as received from the district information office. The challenge was to explain the code of conduct in simple understandable language and still convey exact meaning as per the notification received. After this initiative, the election office came up with their schedule and we started broadcasting information and updates regarding the elections. It’s a different kind of scenario and everywhere only elections are the center of any discussion.
When the campaigning of different parties started, I attended a few of their public events. It was interesting to hear their speeches and criticisms on other parties. During these days we got in touch with the election officers and broadcasted their appeal through radio. We also interviewed people from some localities to know their expectations from the candidates and what will be their basis for voting. Finally, the election day arrived and we geared up for live broadcasting of voting status of different voting centers. It was my first time doing a live broadcast. Throughout the day, we were collecting the voting statics from the election office at an interval of 2 hours and broadcasted it timely. During the broadcast, we also kept appealing to people to go out and vote.
After the voting day, it was time for the counting and results. We got a special permission to go at the counting location and broadcast the counting status and results live. This was by far one of the most widely listened programmes of the radio. We got many calls during that day for enquiring about election results. Politics and elections attract attention of many people and hence we got some new listeners that day. Now, the elections for the gram panchayats in the block have been declared and an effective plan is being rolled out to cover majority of the villages and expand out listener strength.