Mumbai, Feb 9: Public participation makes democracy strong. It is therefore, necessary to involve youth in this process. The election commission should use the mobile dependency among the youth to involve them in democratic process, said Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis stressed the need for a more mature political culture to strengthening democracy. He also emphasised the need for making voting compulsory to increase the percentage of voting.
The State Election Commission is celebrating ‘Democracy Fortnight’ which will be concluding tomorrow. Under this program a day-long conference on ‘Democracy, Elections and Good Governance’ was organised at Sahyadri Guest House today. Governor and Chief Minister expressed their opinions and views during this conference.
Election Commission Commissioner J S Sahariya, Chief Secretary Sumit Mallik, DGP Satish Mathur were present.
The Governor in his address said that democracy is the direction of life and cultural tradition of our country. Efforts were made in the past 69 years at every step to strengthen and empower democracy. Maharashtra is also at the forefront in this mission. The state has ensured participation of women in decision making process by implementing 50 per cent reservation for the eves.
The Governor expressed concern over the use of money power in local self-government body elections and said that it is the root cause of corruption. People would lose faith in democracy if this use of money increased in election process, he added.
He said that use of mobile phones has increased in rural areas and the youth are more attracted towards it. This is a good opportunity to involve them and seek their active participation in the democratic process through social media. Efforts should be made with the help of various social organisations, institutes, Ganesh Mandals etc. for registration of voters and to increase the percentage of voting. Effective work is going on in this direction in states like Karnataka and Kerala. He suggested sending vice-chancellors of the state universities to these two states to study this process and implement it in our state.
Need to think for compulsory voting: CM
In his address Chief Minister Devendra Fadanvis said that more maturity of political culture is necessary to strengthening democracy. Consensus need to be evolved on issues of national and social interests. Elections should be held in fearless and free atmosphere. He also expressed concern over increasing use of money in elections stressing that this use of money power must be stopped.
State Election Commission is conducting elections every year as a natural process. Chief Minister pleaded for one time elections of all the local self-government bodies in the state. He said that this will reduce the pressure on election commission, administration and police. He also expressed serious concern on criminalisation of elections. This is a very serious matter and criminals must be barred from contesting elections, he said adding that while stopping such elements care must be taken to see that it won’t have any adverse effect on process of voting.
He suggested forming a committee under the Election Commissioner to implement reforms in internal election process in accordance with the statutory rights of the state given by the constitution. The committee should study the matter and submit its report to the state government so that necessary amendments can be made in the law.
The Chief Minister congratulated the State Election Commission for conducting elections in the state in last couple of years with safeguarding democratic values.
Chief Secretary underlines Election Commission’s role:
Participating in the conference Chief Secretary Sumit Mallik said that elections should be held peacefully and transparently. Every citizen is duty bound to participate in this process of voting. Election Commission is playing an important role in strengthening democracy at the lowest level. DGP Satish Mathur called for the necessity of a state law to hold election of local self-government bodies peacefully and fearlessly.
New Law must for local self-government body elections: Sahariya
In his introductory remarks Election Commissioner J S Sahariya said that 80 percent elections to local self-government bodies were held in free and fearless atmosphere and voting percentage has also increased. The universities, housing societies, taxi and hotel associations played a major role in this. This is the silver jubilee year of 73rd and 74th Constitution amendment. Many suggestions were received at the national conference held on this occasion. We have implemented one of the suggestions to observe ‘Democracy Fortnight’ from Jan 26 to Feb 10. From this year, this fortnight will be observed every year, he said. A UK-based organisation conducted a survey of 167 countries in respect of their election process. India ranked 35th in that survey based on five different parameters, he added.
National anthem was sung at the beginning and at the end of the program. Secretary of State Election Commission Shekhar Channe proposed vote of thanks. Principal Secretaries, Secretaries of various departments and police officials and representatives of social organisations participated in the day-long conference.