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The Drum

The Times of India launches initiative to give Indian migrants the right to vote

India's third largest newspaper - The Times of India (TOI) - has launched a 'Lost Votes' campaign that calls for electoral reform to bring in the vote of Indian migrants into the general election this year.

The general elections are due to be held in India between April and May to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha.

The nationwide campaign, developed by J. Walter Thompson, highlights that although bank accounts and mobile phone numbers can travel with the 16 million Indians currently living outside the country - their right to vote does not.

Thus, in the lead up to the elections, TOI wishes to generate conversations over these lost votes, to turn them into votes that count.

The campaign resonates with TOI's philosophy of 'Change Begins Here' and the newspaper believes it has the potential to positively impact India's democracy.

Commenting on the campaign, Sanjeev Bhargava, director of TOI said: “We are the largest democracy in the world. But are we the most robust? To strengthen our democracy, it is important that the right to vote and the facility to vote both be made available to the entire voting population.”

Senthil Kumar, chief creative officer J. Walter Thompson said: "The idea of the film is to evoke the voice of the lost vote. A voice that amplifies the angst and echoes the emotion of over 20 crore Indians losing their vote.

"To play the voice of the lost votes on loudspeakers and yet feel the voice being drowned by the distance, lost in the middle-class multitudes out there. Losing your right to vote is like that fading homing signal. It’s like missing the last train home and losing the hope of making a difference in your hometown from your distant work station.”

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