Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu has called on the Election Commission and voters to achieve 75% turnout in the next general elections to make the elections more inclusive. He also urged for consensus on the issue of holding joint elections with which the pace of progress would be smooth.
In his message on the 12th National Voters’ Day, the Vice President said that it should be ensured that not a single voter was left out. He asked the voters to decide on the basis of the merits and demerits of the candidates in the elections. The Vice President is infected and has isolated himself at his residence in Hyderabad. His address was read out at the event in New Delhi.
The turnout was 44.87% in the first Lok Sabha general elections in 1952, which increased to maximum of 67.40% in the 17th Lok Sabha general elections in 2019.
The Vice President of India noted that the challenge before the Election Commission is to ensure a steady increase in voting in every election to make India’s electoral democracy more inclusive by addressing the barriers to voter participation. He urged, “In the 75th year of our Independence, let us resolve to leave no voter behind and aim to increase the voter turnout to at least 75% in the next general elections. Let each one realise that vote is not only a right but a responsibility. We, as a nation, must think and arrive at a consensus to have simultaneous polls to all the three tiers of federal set-up and move towards better governance by focusing our attention on all-round development of our people.”
M Venkaiah Naidu referred to the substantial 8% increase in voter turnout from 58.21% in the 2009 general elections to 66.44% in 2014, suggesting that it is feasible to reach 75% voter turnout target from 67.40% in 2019. He complimented the SVEEP (Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation) initiative of the Election Commission launched in 2009 for improving voter participation.
He expressed delight over women voting more than men in the 2019 general elections by a margin of 0.17%, for the first time in 70 years, ending the gender gap in the country. In 1962 general elections, men voter turnout was 16.71% more than that of women. He
The Vice President stressed the need for a more swift resolution of election disputes and the creation of a more informed citizenry empowered to judge the merits of each candidate in the elections. He urged the Commission to further explore innovative ways in which technology can enhance the credibility and accessibility of the voting process. He also referred to high voter turnout in the range of 74% to 84% in the elections to five State Assembly held under Covid-19 protocol last year.
The 12th National Voters Day was organised on the theme, Making Our Elections Inclusive, Accessible and Participative. January 25 is celebrated as the National Voters Day, as the Election Commission was set up on January 25, 1950, a day before the country became a Republic with the Constitution coming into force from January 26, 1950.