Election after election, India has seen many rises and falls in voter turnouts. Various factors which broadly fall under unawareness, apathy and general non interest among the citizens due to the nature of politics practiced in our country have been attributed as the main causes for the decreasing participation in electoral processes.
The National Election Commission (EC) which was constituted on the 25th of January, 1950 is a permanent, independent and Constitutional body and is vested with the powers and responsibilities to direct, control and supervises all national and state assembly elections in the country. The persisting issue of decrease in voter turnout led to the introduction of a unique initiative to encourage young adults to participate in the electoral process. This initiative is the National Voters Day which is celebrated on the Foundation Day of the EC i.e. 25th January; it was launched on 25th January, 2011.
Voting is the most precious right of every citizen, and we have a moral obligation to ensure the integrity of our voting process.
Enhancing participatory democracy in our country is one of the major concerns being addressed by the EC through the National Voters Day initiative. It is felt that somewhere along the road, the essence of voting and the need to exercise it with careful consideration of its implications on the nation’s prospect has been lost. Revival of our most fundamental duty towards the nation and consequently improving our potential future is an important task which must be taken up by not just the EC but our society at large.
The many loopholes and drawbacks in our developmental growth may be due to poor policy making and their execution. But, analyzing the effect of poor voting patterns on the country’s long term future is as important as initiating policy change. The National Voters Day is therefore a small step in the direction of making citizens an active participant in the democratic process.
Voting is a right best exercised by people who have taken time to learn about the issues.
Along with encouraging citizens to vote, an emphasis on understanding candidate profiles, their focus points for the elections and their relativity to the real, enduring problems in your constituency should be promoted.
The lack of knowledge about political leaders in one’s own constituency is not something new. Most people never really make an attempt to study the background, political achievements, credibility or his/her interaction level with his constituency. These factors, no matter what political party he/she belongs to, are the real deciding factors of your constituency’s future progress against all socio economic parameters.
So before you go out to vote in the upcoming elections, make sure you spare 30 minutes to read up on the profiles of the candidates contesting elections from your constituency, the relevance of this cannot be more emphasized.
Voting is the most basic way in which you can influence the politics of your country. There are many threats which are plaguing the election process in our country which must be recognized and eliminated. The most important among these are bribes or cash for votes during elections, caste or communal based voting and the tampering of votes at polling booths by a political party.
Voting is the first act of building a community as well as building a country.
This National Voters Day let us take up the initiative of spreading awareness about the need to vote, the significance of studying and knowing the contesting candidates from one’s constituency. We hold the key to our future and we all have a duty to retain and enhance the spirit of our democratic electoral system.
About the Author
A patriot and hopeful change maker, Riddhima is a believer in the power of women to change the world. She has studied Political Science with special reference to the feminist movement, feminist theory and the position of women in Indian politics. She is currently pursuing Law and hopes to specialize in women related laws and work with an organization in a related field. She enjoys public speaking and is not afraid to speak her mind. Sharma is a quick learner and is keen to gain new experiences especially in the areas of public policy, politics and strategy.
Learn more about the EC’s National Voters Day Initiatives here
Learn more about Wake Up and Vote India! – An MGF and ACPPIR Initiative
Become a Wake Up and Vote India Campus Ambassador