Rock band to urge the youth to 'shut up and vote'

Bangalore, March 19 (IANS) Shut up and vote - is the message that a Bangalore-based rock band will give to the urban youth in five cities starting Friday. The band, in a series of rock shows, will urge the young to stop cribbing and start voting.

Thermal and a Quarter (TAAQ) has been roped in to stir the urban youth to vote by Tata Tea-sponsored 'Jaago Re (Wake up)! One Billion Votes' campaign and Bangalore-based NGO Janaagraha.

The rock-band campaign to "wake up" the youth is called Shut Up and Vote.

The first show Friday is at the Indian Institute of Technology campus in Chennai. The next is at Kolkata's Presidency College (March 23), Pragati Maidan in New Delhi (March 25), D.Y. Patil College, Mumbai (March 27) and St Joseph's College of Commerce, Bangalore (March 28).

Ahead of their campaign, the band has no illusions that its effort will see droves of youth heading to voting booths in the five phase poll for the Lok Sabha beginning April 16.

"It's interesting how some good folks in the blogosphere are already dishing out their cynicism and quasi-intellectual gibber about the campaign and its effectiveness," the band says in its blog TAAQin.

"They yap about India and China, about the economy and their parsimony, about the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games, about Padma Shris and Padma Laxmi. But hey, just for a minute, get off that high horse and do something people."

Jasmine Shah, campaign coordinator of the campaign, said: "Music has always been able to move the youth. Hence it has been chosen as a platform to woo the young voters."

"The rock concerts will not only entertain, but awaken the youth to vote. Voting is their right and they need to exercise their franchise to make the best use of the democratic system," Shah told IANS.

"We want the youth to stop complaining about various woes afflicting the country. Rather they should fulfil their duty of voting and bring the needful changes in the society. It is common knowledge that urban youth hardly come out and vote.

"Most of the youth are unaware of where to register for voting, the procedure involved and are reluctant to be hassled," lamented Shah.

The Jaago Re campaign was launched six months ago and website www.jaagore.com helps the people who register with information on how to get their names on to the voters list.

Around 450,000 youth across the country have registered with the site.

In between the rock shows in the five cities, announcements will be made by Jaago Re volunteers on the need to vote.

"The announcement will tell the audience about the importance of voting and voting (for) the right candidate," said Vandana Krishnan of Janaagraha, set up in 2001.

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