Women in rural areas do not understand the power of their vote. They are oblivious of the fact that a vote can make or break a government. To tell womenfolk about the importance of voting, a trio of young women from Mumbai have reached Madhya Pradesh, travelling via Maharashtra and Goa, to campaign for the cause.
The group, known as ‘Bhatopa’, is campaigning with a slogan “Cast your vote and ink your finger” and this year has a theme — ‘Times Women’s Dive 2019’. The aim of this flying ‘Bhatopa’ is to tell people about the importance of the biggest strength of a democracy — voting.
The journey of these three women — Bhavna Verma, Tona Sojtia and Paridhi Bhati — started from Mumbai on May 2.
They travel by car which they have decorated with stickers that talk about the value of a vote. At one place, one can see images of women in veils, while at the other place is a photograph of an inked finger.
Sojtia, a professional cinematographer who is leading the group, told IANS that she apprised the Election Commission about her campaign, whereby the group left Mumbai to campaign in the villages to make people aware about the importance of voting.
Whichever village falls on their way, they stop to interact with women there and urge them to vote in elections.
Sojtia said that a lot of women think conservatively and when members of the group ask them to exercise their democratic right, the village women reply to them, “What will happen with just one vote.” When they are told about the importance of a single vote, of how it can make or break a government, the women are motivated.
The group, with a slogan of “Go Vote”, has covered 10 parliamentary constituencies until now. The women they spoke to told the trio about the challenges they face.
According to the trio, every woman has one thing to say, “The politicians come to our houses during the elections and talk about how to solve the issues but nothing happens. That is why we don’t feel like voting.”
According to Sojtia, the issue that plagues the women the most is that nobody talks about their problems. Further, they have to vote as per the wishes of their family. They are told that it is better to not raise fingers at the leaders but rather use it to cast their vote and decide their future.
Last year, flying ‘Bhatopa’ had rallied from Pune to Goa in the memory of the late film actress, Sridevi. For this, the car was covered with the superstar’s photographs.
The ‘Bhatopa’ group takes up a new issue every year. This year, their motive is to celebrate the festival of democracy and make it more effective.