The heads of election management bodies and international electoral institutions of different countries attending the ‘International Conference on Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation’ called on the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (October 19, 2016).
Addressing the international delegates, the President quoted Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the co-founder of erstwhile Czechoslovakia and said “Democracy is the political form of humanity”. He said that the heads of election management bodies present there were custodians of democracy and therefore of humanity. He stated that democracy would succeed through their responsibility of discharging free and fair elections as per the Constitution of the country concerned.
The President said that after India became independent and was transformed into a Republic, there were many doubting voices with regard to success of adult suffrage in the country. However, the Election Commission of India, which has an important role in our democracy, has been delivering the citizens well managed elections in a country with a vast area and a huge population. The country has seen consistent rise in voters’ participation in successive elections. The General Elections to the lower house of Indian Parliament in 2014 recorded a historic turn out. He stated that he was happy that the voters also chose a stable political regime by electing a single majority Government.
The President said that the basic objective of democracy is to have an electorate which is informed and constantly engaged with the affairs of the State. It is important to create a conducive atmosphere to enable people to exercise their voting rights without fear or favour and see that the outcome of elections is not vitiated. Voters must be educated to exercise their right to vote with full responsibility and seriousness. He told the delegates that being experts in their field it was for them to decide how successful elections were to be implemented. He hoped that the deliberations at the Conference would lead to better voters’ education and increased voters’ participation.