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Celebrities step up to support REV-UP campaign for inclusive elections

The first phase of general elections has already begun. More states are gearing up in the next few days to cast their votes to form the government for next five years. The Election Commission of India (ECI) is working in collaboration with state governments and NGO's to make general elections accessible and inclusive.

This time, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) along with the National Disability Network has kick-started the REV-UP-Register, Enable, Vote campaign promoting inclusive voting for people with all kinds of disabilities. Celebrities from South and North India have already stepped up to support the campaign, which is being introduced in India for the first time.

This is a much needed initiative from the government. It is high time that people with disabilities are included in mainstream society. They must not be sidelined or marginalised and their votes do matter, and authorities must also realise that. I hope the REV-UP campaign brings together more disabled people so that they can cast their votes without any hassles-Ann Augustine, Actor/Producer

In order to strengthen the campaign and make it more relatable for people with disabilities, Coena Mukherjee, a girl with cerebral palsy has been roped in for developing the campaign which is gaining popularity amongst the disabled community.

Vivek Harshan, a Film Editor says that ensuring accessible and inclusive elections is duty of the government.

"Over the years, people with disabilities have been clearly denied opportunities to vote. They are integral in forming government of our country. I believe disabled people must not only vote but also become integral part of our government by contesting in elections. There is so much unnoticed talents that needs to come up", says Harshan.

"I have been voting for the past many years. But till date, I have not seen a person with a disability coming to polling booths. It shows how they are discriminated in our society, even when it comes to casting their votes which is their basic right. I came to know that this year's elections are going to be more inclusive and disabled friendly. But promises given by central and state governments must not merely be on paper. It must be implemented so that disabled people get to exercise their constitutional right without fail. The REV-UP campaign is definitely a great step, says Film Director Nithin Renji Panicker.

ECI is introducing many facilities for voters with disabilities. This includes installation of wheelchair ramps and accessible washrooms, temporary shelters at polling booths, pick up and drop facilities, companions for visually impaired voters including guides and volunteers.

"Let's all come forth and exercise our democratic right to vote #JaiHind #VoteIndia, tweeted Bollywood actor Dia Mirza.

Apart from Dia Mirza, Hema Malini's daughter and actress Esha Deol along with producer Dipshikha Deshmukh also supported the campaign on their social media.

ALSO READ: Ahead of first phase of voting, India's disabled community shares its wish list



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