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UP Congress to hold online test to woo young voters

The Congress paty aims to reach out to 18 lakh first-time voters of Uttar Pradesh through the online quiz contest with laptops and tablets as prizes. The district-level Rajiv Gandhi General Knowledge contest based on UPA schemes, independence movement and Nehru-Gandhi family will be held in all 75 districts on UP on Sep 13-14 for 16-22 age group marking 76th birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi.

August 31, 2020 / 02:50 PM IST

With laptops, mobile phones and tablets as prizes, the Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) is organising an online quiz competition next month across 75 districts of the state.

The event to commemorate the 76th birth anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi is being seen as an attempt to reach out to the state’s at least 18-lakh young voters, including those who would be voting for the first time in the next UP assembly elections scheduled in 2022.

Open for Uttar Pradesh residents in the age group of 16-22 years, the  event — Rajiv Gandhi General Knowledge Competition to be held on September 13 and 14—will test participants on their knowledge about freedom movement and schemes launched by Congress-led UPA regimes between 2009 and 2014 at the Centre.

“The registrations have already begun through a website. The event will be organised in all 75 districts,” Mohit Pandey, chairman social media UPCC, told MoneyControl over phone from Lucknow. The test will be conducted between 3 pm and 7 pm on both days and the results will be announced on September 24.

“First prize in each district will be a laptop, second prize a mobile phone and third a tablet. Plus, there will be hundreds of consolation prizes," he said.

Last year in August when the test was conducted offline, as many as 4.5 Lakh youths registered out of which nearly 3.5 lakh participated, according to UPCC office bearers .  This year, already 2 Lakh students have registered for the test to be held online. They said representatives from the party’s frontal organisations such as National Students’ Union of India, Youth Congress, Women’s’ wing, etc, have been given responsibilities to ensure maximum participation in the test.

“The age-limit of 16-22 years has been chosen to target young voters. Youths who are 16 will be 18 in 2022 and eligible to vote for the first time when UP elections will be held,” said a Congress party leader in Uttar Pradesh.  In 2019 Lok Sabha elections, UP had 12 Lakh first-time voters. Congress’s UP in-charge Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is believed to be behind the idea aimed at reaching out to the youth.

The test comprising 60 questions will be conducted for half an hour. “The questions will be based on flagship schemes launched by UPA,” Pandey said. Questions about freedom movement and leaders who participated in it will also be asked, he said.

“Those who register on the website will be able to take the test using their mobile phones or laptops,”

Political parties have a history of using modern-day gadgets to woo young voters in Uttar Pradesh. In 2012 assembly polls, Samajwadi Party (SP)  defeated Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) riding on a pre-poll promise of distributing free laptops to students who had passed class 12th. Towards the end of its term in 2017, the SP government led by Akhilesh Yadav has distributed nearly 18 Lakh “Samajwadi laptops” to students.  In the runup to 2017 Assembly polls, BJP also promised laptops and 1 GB free Internet data to college students.

Gulam Jeelani
first published: Aug 31, 2020 02:50 pm