The Senior Deputy Election Commissioner, Umesh Sinha said today that voter is the first representative of the country and is the center of the electoral process, not just in participation but ethical and informed participation.
Inaugurating the 15th Annual National Conference of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and the Uttar Pradesh Election Watch (UPEW) in Lucknow today he said that the Commission lays great emphasis on the voter and all the stakeholders.
Emphasizing on electoral participation, he stressed that elections cannot be conducted alone without stakeholders, and need participation and coordination with all stakeholders like voters, media, civil society, youth organizations etc.
He also urged the general public to use the helpline number ‘1950’ and cVigil App to register complaints against poll related issues. He further added that both voter who sells his/her vote and the politician who is offering bribe are equally responsible for the ill-practice.
On the role of youth, he suggested that youth will have to take lead not just as a voter but also as an educator and motivator in the family and the society. Speaking of the challenges faced by the Commission, he highlighted and elaborated the 3 main obstacles for conducting free and fair elections – (i) Muscle Power, (ii) Money Power and (iii) Paid News and Fake News.
The Sr. Deputy Election Commissioner concluded by stating that it is important that we make citizens responsible voters and added that despite diversities and challenges, elections have been conducted freely and fairly in India, calling it an achievement in itself.
Chairing the session on “Electoral and political reforms: a lack of political will?”, Prof. Trilochan Sastry, founder member and Trustee ADR, opened the session focusing on the issue of buying and selling of votes. He spoke about how political parties and their candidates are representing and protecting interests of corporate houses as they are their sponsors and donors, but not that of voters.