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

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Tuesday urged the Election Commission and the citizens to ensure a voter turnout of 75 percent 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 percent in the first general elections during 1951-52 to the highest ever 67.40 percent in the 2019 elections, marking an increase of 50 percent 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 percent 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 percent increase in voter turnout from 58.21 percent in the 2009 general elections to 66.44 percent in 2014, he also suggested that it was feasible to reach the 75 percent turnout target from 67.40 percent 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 percent for the first time in 70 years, Naidu said that this will end the 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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