President Murmu bats for more participation of women in electoral process

NEW DELHI, Jan 25:  As the Election Commission aims to ensure 75 per cent voter turnout in future elections, President Droupadi Murmu on Wednesday urged people to consider voting as their contribution to nation building.

She said people must vote with the spirit of “nation paramount”.

Addressing an event to mark the 13th National Voters’ Day, she said it is a great achievement of India’s election process and democracy that the active participation of women in the democratic process is continuously increasing.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the number of women voters was slightly higher than that of men.

She noted that for the first time in the history of Indian Parliament, the total number of women MPs in both the Houses together has reached the 115 mark.

From gram panchayats to Parliament, women are contributing significantly. Their participation and numbers should increase further, she said.

The President said that social revolution has been possible in the country during the past seven decades through the election process. It is a great success of our democracy that the common voter living in remote areas feels that he or she has a major role in deciding who would and how they would govern the country or the state.

Since 2011, National Voters’ Day is celebrated on January 25 every year to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission in 1950, a day before India became a republic.

Law Minister Kiren Rijiju said his ministry and the Government would support the EC’s efforts to bring in reforms in the electoral process keeping in mind the changed requirements.

He said the best way to move forward in implementing electoral reforms is taking all stakeholders into confidence through discussions and consultations.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said the biggest asset of the Election Commission is the trust gained due to its professional conduct of elections over the years.

He elaborated that while electors in India have increased from about 17 crore in 1951 to more than 94 crore now and the voter turnout was the highest ever at 67.4 per cent in 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the EC is committed to motivate the remaining people to come to polling station for an inclusive and participative elections.

She handed over the Election Photo Identity Card (EPIC) to five youths who recently became voters.

During the event, President Murmu presented the national awards for the year 2022.

National awards for the best electoral practices will be presented to state and district level officers for their 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.

National awards will also be given to important stakeholders like government departments, and media organisations for their valuable contribution towards voters’ awareness.

The first copy of an EC publication, “Electing the First Citizen-An Illustrated Chronicle of India’s Presidential Elections”, was presented to the president by Chief Election Commissioner Kumar.

The book, a first-of-its-kind publication, gives glimpses into the historic journey of presidential elections in the country. It throws light on the nuances of the presidential electoral system and associated constitutional provisions through the timelines of the past 16 presidential elections.

A song — “Main Bharat Hoon- Hum Bharat Ke Matdata Hain” — produced by the Election Commission in association with Subhash Ghai Foundation, was also screened.

The song brings forth the power of vote and celebrates the spirit of inclusive, accessible, ethical, participative and festive elections in the largest and most vibrant democracy of the world.

A multimedia exhibition showcasing the grandeur of Indian elections and various initiatives by the Commission was also displayed during the event.

The exhibition showcased a bird’s eye view of the electronic voting machine-related facts.

Minister of State for Law S P Singh Baghel, seven former CECs, over 40 representatives from national and state political parties, heads and deputy heads of 12 election management bodies, Subhash Ghai along with celebrity singers were also present on the occasion.  (PTI)