Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday expressed concern over low voting percentage, especially in urban areas considered “educated and prosperous”, and said that this should change in “a vibrant democracy like India”.
In an interaction with BJP workers from across the country on the occasion of National Voters Day, Modi also raised the issues of “one nation, one election” and “one nation, one voters list”, saying that “the continuous cycle of elections result in politics being seen in everything, while development works suffer”.
While noting that the voting percentage rose from 45 per cent in the first Lok Sabha polls in 1951-52 to 67 per cent in 2019, Modi said that the rise in female voter participation was a good thing, but added that everyone from citizens to members of different political parties should think over low polling.
“It is seen that urban areas, which are considered educated and prosperous, have low polling,” Modi said, adding that their residents discuss elections on social media but don’t go to vote.
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Modi asked the BJP’s “panna pramukhs” and other ground workers to work to ensure 75 per cent polling in every election.
“Polling is the most sacred donation to strengthen democracy,” the PM said, lauding the Election Commission for its several initiatives to increase polling.
Referring to the recently passed legislation, which seeks voters to link their Aadhaar number and voter ID, Modi said that it would boost transparency.
Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur will be held in seven phases beginning next month.
The audio interaction was earlier meant only for Gujarat BJP workers, but was later expanded to include party members from different parts of the country.
Modi has often pushed for holding elections, from that of Lok Sabha, to state assemblies and local bodies, simultaneously, saying that frequent polls hamper development works and make people impute political motives for every step of a government.
On the National Voters Day, held to mark the Election Commission’s foundation in 1950, Modi praised the poll watchdog and noted it enjoys wide support from different political parties and institution.
“The EC also enjoys powers like issuing notices and transferring officers, that its counterparts in other democracies do not,” Modi said, noting that the makers of the Constitution knew that a lively democracy was possible only when there is a strong and unbiased electoral process.
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In his address, Modi also urged BJP workers to run campaign with people’s participation against malnutrition so that a healthy India emerges by 2047, the centenary year of its independence.
Modi also asked them to get more and more to connect with the BJP through its micro donation exercise.
(With inputs from Agencies)