Cricket legend and Bharat Ratna awardee Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar today began a new innings - as the ‘National Icon’ for voter awareness and education for the Election Commission of India. An MoU was signed with the legend for a period of 3 years at an event organized at Akashvani Rang Bhavan, New Delhi in the presence of Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel.
This collaboration marks a significant step towards leveraging Tendulkar's unparalleled impact with the youth demographic for increasing voters’ participation in the forthcoming elections, especially in General Elections 2024. ECI through this partnership aims to bridge the gap between citizens, especially youth and urban populations and the electoral process thereby, trying to address the challenges of urban and youth apathy.
Sachin Tendulkar, in his role as the National Icon for the Election Commission of India, expressed his enthusiasm and commitment to the cause, and said that for a vibrant democracy like India, the youth play a key role in nation building. The hearts that beat for Team India during sports matches, with the unified cheer – ‘India, India!’, shall also beat the same way to take our precious democracy forward.
One simple yet most powerful way to do that is to cast our votes regularly. Speaking on the occasion he said that from thronging stadiums to thronging polling booths, from taking time out to stand by the National team to taking time out to cast our votes, we shall keep up the spirit and enthusiasm.
When youth from the nooks and corners of the country participate in large numbers in electoral democracy, we shall see a prosperous future for our country. Speaking on the occasion, CEC Rajiv Kumar said that Sachin Tendulkar, an icon revered not only in India but globally, has a legacy that extends far beyond his cricketing prowess.
Rajiv Kumar said his illustrious career is a testament to his commitment to excellence, teamwork, and the relentless pursuit of success. His influence transcends sports, making him an ideal choice to bat for ECI and drive up voter turn-outs, the CEC added.
The collaboration will encompass a range of activities, including Tendulkar's promoting voter awareness in various TV talk shows/ programs and digital campaigns etc, all aimed at raising awareness about the importance of voting and the role it plays in shaping the nation's destiny.
During the event, students from National School of Drama also presented an impactful skit on the importance of voting in strengthening of democracy. ECI associates itself with renowned Indians from various fields and designates them as ECI’s national icons to motivate voters for participation in the festival of democracy.
Last year, the Commission recognised famous actor Pankaj Tripathi as the National Icon. Earlier, during the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, stalwarts like M.S.Dhoni, Aamir Khan and Mary Kom had been the ECI National Icons.