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Updated: March 5, 2012 17:05 IST

Poll panel to work for complete voter participation

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Akshay Raut, Director-General, Election Commission of India, addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.
Akshay Raut, Director-General, Election Commission of India, addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.

As four States recorded their highest-ever turnouts in history in the just-concluded Assembly elections, the Election Commission has voiced hope that this “revolution” will lead to “complete participation” in the coming elections.

“The Commission is hopeful that in the coming elections, this increased participation will lead to complete participation,” EC’s Director-General Akshay Raut said.

Mr. Raut, who is also in-charge of the EC’s Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) cell, said, “The Commission is consciously feeling that this programme has converted itself into a participative revolution.” He said, “The participative revolution will increase further in the coming elections” and the Commission is happy that the electoral management programme has given good results.

The SVEEP cell has been set up by the Commission for educating voters across the country and ensuring their participation in elections.

The EC will further strengthen this programme, which works on the “principle of information, motivation and facilitation” and will help turn this programme into a national movement.

Mr. Raut said Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab and Uttarkhand that went to polls now, besides West Bengal and Tamil Nadu that went to polls last year, have shown historic records after India’s independence.

He added that 12 States that went to polls in the last two years have shown uniform increase in voter participation, for which the Commission had worked on a number of programmes in the past few years.

To ensure that States make special efforts in bringing about complete participation of voters in the election process, Raut said the EC will also start giving awards to States for better voter participation.

To help achieve this, the Commission is already seeking the participation of educational institutions and evolving methods like human chains, relay races and competitions, besides conducting knowledge behaviour surveys based on extreme systematic analysis.

He said the Commission has worked towards increased youth participation and wanted feminine focus in the voter education programmes to ensure increased women participation, which has shown results too.

“We wanted youth to become a face of participation in these polls. All the states that went to polls now have also shown increased women participation,” he said.

Mr. Raut said the EC has also successfully fought urban apathy factor.

To a question, he said the Commission was in favour of participation by choice than by compulsion and did not favour “compulsory voting“.

Talking about Uttar Pradesh, he said “the learning from U.P. will be taken forward and we will see the results further“.

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Let us not forget that Team Anna made a big difference this time in the election of 5 states to motivate people to vote.

from:  Dhruv Srivastava
Posted on: Mar 5, 2012 at 18:56 IST
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