V P calls for 75 voter turnout for making polls more inclusive

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New Delhi, Jan 25

 Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday urged the Election Commission and the citizens to ensure a voter turnout of 75 per cent in the next general elections to make electoral democracy more inclusive and also sought consensus on simultaneous polls to sustain the tempo of development.

In a message on the occasion of the 12th National Voters Day, he stressed that no voter should be left behind and urged the citizens to judge the contestants on merit.

As he has been in home isolation in Hyderabad after testing corona positive, his address was read out at the event in New Delhi.

Referring to the increase in voter turnout from 44.87 per cent in the first general elections during 1951-52 to the highest ever 67.40 per cent in the 2019 elections, marking an increase of 50 per cent in voting, Naidu complimented all stakeholders for the same. Alluding to the sustained efforts of the Election Commission in this regard striving for excellence during the 70 years of the country's electoral journey, he also hailed the Commission as a credible, responsive and forward looking institution every votary of democracy can legitimately be proud of.

The Vice President also noted that the challenge before the Election Commission is to ensure a steady increase in voting in every election to make our electoral democracy more inclusive by addressing the barriers to voter participation.

"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 per cent in the next general elections. Let each one realize 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," the Vice President urged.

Referring to the substantial eight per cent increase in voter turnout from 58.21 per cent in 2009 general elections to 66.44 per cent in 2014, he also suggested that it was feasible to reach 75 per cent turnout target from 67.40 per cent in 2019. He complimented the SVEEP (Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation) initiative of the Election Commission launched in 2009 for improving voter participation.

Expressing delight over women voting more than men in the 2019 general elections by a margin of 0.17 per cent for the first time in 70 years, Naidu said that this will end gender gap in the country.

The 12th National Voters Day is being organized on the theme "Making our Elections Inclusive, Accessible and Participative". January 25 is being celebrated 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.


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