Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, May 19
The city is dotted with “Desh ka mahatyohaar, Chandigarh hai taiyaar” posters featuring Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana, who was appointed the city’s icon of SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation) to promote voter awareness and the General Election. However, the actor remained conspicuous by his absence on Sunday — the polling day.
When The Tribune contacted his secretary, Khurrana’s managers responded via a text message after claiming to have spoken to him regarding the matter. They wrote: “Ayushmann says, when the respected authorities contacted me for the important initiative to promote voting in Chandigarh, I had communicated to them that I may not be able to come on the day of voting. There were some extremely personal commitments that couldn’t be changed or deferred. It was too personal a reason to explain and communicate, but I cleared that it would be tough for me to be there. The authorities insisted that even though I might not be able to make it, it was important for me to urge people to vote. They said as a conscious and a vocal citizen of the country, I could still do my bit and only then I agreed to be part of this campaign. I would have loved to cast my vote, but unfortunately I needed to tend to some important medical requirements of my wife and I had to be with her for the same (sic).”
While Deputy Commissioner Mandip Singh Brar said Khurrana had intimated him about his absence prior to the voting day, Chief Electoral Officer Ajoy Kumar stated, “He may have some urgent concern, but he has been associated with us and has helped us with radio messages to spread voter awareness.” About a month after Khurrana’s appointment as the face of Chandigarh for promoting the General Election, TV actor Vivek Dahiya was also brought on board as SVEEP’s ambassador. Since then, Dahiya has made three trips to the city and cast his vote at Ryan International School, Sector 49.
“I have been working with the Election Commission for the past two months and have attended two voter awareness events, one at Elante and the other at the lake in Sector 42,” he said.
Talking about the importance of voting, he said, “I would really like to see a change and I have gone out of my comfort zone to come here and vote because it’s my duty as a citizen of this country. I feel every vote matters because people win and lose by one vote at times. My family and I queued up and had healthy, lengthy discussions over politics with people around us too.”
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