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Electoral reforms only after consultation with political parties, says Union Minister Rijiju

His remarks come in the backdrop of EC deferring the demonstration of its recently developed prototype Remote EVMs after opposition from most political parties

January 25, 2023 03:50 pm | Updated 08:35 pm IST - New Delhi

President Droupadi Murmu with Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Union MoS for Law SP Singh Baghel, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey during the 13th National Voters’ Day event in New Delhi on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.

President Droupadi Murmu with Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, Union MoS for Law SP Singh Baghel, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey during the 13th National Voters’ Day event in New Delhi on Wednesday, January 25, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on January 25 said that any electoral reform would be carried out only after consultations with all stakeholders, including political parties.

His remarks come in the backdrop of the Election Commission deferring the demonstration of its recently developed prototype Remote Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) after opposition from most political parties. The Remote EVMs would have enabled migrant workers to vote.

Mr. Rijiju said that the Law Ministry was in constant touch with the Election Commission for bringing forth electoral reforms like the recent amendment to the Act facilitating voter registration throughout the year.

Changes made in election laws a year ago have resulted in the addition of over 1.5 crore new voters to the electoral list. Four cut-off dates instead of the one earlier have helped young eligible citizens to register as voters once they turn 18, the Minister said addressing the 13th National Voters Day celebrations here.

He said that consultations and discussions are a “symbol” of a vibrant democracy. Mr. Rijiju added that all the decisions are being taken after due consultation with the support of all political parties. He said there were many unsung heroes like security forces in areas prone to violence who enable the democratic process to move on in the country and they needed to be remembered.

President Droupadi Murmu observed that rural voters were more enthusiastic than their urban counterparts and urged all citizens to consider voting as their contribution to nation-building.

It is a great achievement of our election process and our democracy that the active participation of women in the democratic process is continuously increasing, she added.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said though electors in India have increased from about 17 crores in 1951 to over 94 crores now, many more are still left out. “The EC is committed to ensuring that those who are still left out are also able to vote and for this we need to complete electoral rolls”, he said.

Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey said that the commission’s focus is to reach out to every voter, including persons with disabilities, senior citizens, women, transgender and all sections of society.

“We have provided four qualifying dates every year for electoral enrolment to increase the number of youth voters. Special women specific initiatives have been launched to reduce the gender gap,” he said.

The President on the occasion presented the National Awards for the Best Electoral Practices for the year 2022. A total of 13 awardees were felicitated for outstanding performance in the conduct of elections during 2022 in different spheres such as IT initiatives, security management, election management, accessible election, electoral roll and contribution in the field of voter awareness and outreach.

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