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Election Commission wants Rajinikanth to urge Tamil Nadu voters to vote
(Wednesday, 9th March 2016)

Superstar Rajinikanth may soon be seen urging the 5.79 crore strong electorate of Tamil Nadu to do their bit on the election day, as a part of the State Election Commission's campaign to rope in celebrities to get people to vote. The superstar, however, is yet to give his nod to the proposal. 

Sources said the 65-year-old star is currently resting at his farmhouse as he was busy filming for two projects. 

Multipronged approaches through different channels are being tried out to get Rajinikanth to agree. Sources said there have been no positive response yet, but the commission authorities are hopeful. 

"We will be glad if Rajinikanth agrees to our request as that would add immense popularity to our efforts," says Rajesh Lakhoni, chief electoral officer. Sources close to the actor confirmed that such a request has been received but no decision has been taken yet. 

Rajinikanth, however, is not the only one. The Election Commission is banking on a lot of stars to draw voters. Actor Surya, athlete couple Deepika Pallikal and Dinesh Karthik, and cricketer Ashwin Ravichandran have already spoken about the need to vote through small videos. More popular actors will also be approached. 

The strategy has been to target voters aged between 18 and 29. The Election Commission has chosen celebrities who are either into sports or cinema and who have a youth connect. They are looking at celebrities who have no politicial affiliations. The total expense of this project is Rs 12 lakh. 

"The average voting percentage of Chennai has been 67 per cent while that of whole of Tamil Nadu has been 78 per cent. So, Chennai is bringing the whole of Tamil Nadu down. That is why we are channelising our campaign through the media so as to reach out to the youth," said Lakhoni. 

"The idea to get filmstars is a proven, time-tested method to get the attention of the youth," said N Sathiya Moorthy , senior fellow and director of the Chennai Chapter of Observer Research Foundation, a public policy think-tank.


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