State natives take part at National Consultation on Voters’ participation

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NEW DELHI, March 5 (MIC): If the people had been provided the right to recall the elected candidate who had failed to do the aspirations of the people, it would help the nation to choose the right candidate. This was stated by the former President of India Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam in the inaugural session of the National Consultation on Voters’ participation organised by the Election Commission of India held at Hyatt Regency, Bhikaji Cama Place here on Thursday.

Emphasising on the youth as a crucial element of participation, the former President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, said: “The message from the youth, based on interactions with them, is that the youth of India want to live in an economically developed state. The leaders must speak about their vision for the nation and should work and succeed with integrity.” He further emphasised the importance of developmental politics.

He opined for introduction of new technology of unique identity document in the election process for ensuring free and fair election.

There were 10 roundtables at the consultation which pertained to fighting urban apathy, connecting with youth in the above 18 category, engaging civil society in voters’ education and electoral participation, challenges for women’s participation, using social marketing strategies to enhance participation, bringing the excluded population into the fold, and restructuring curriculum to inculcate values of democratic and electoral practices.

Chief Electoral Officer of Manipur P.C.Lawmkunga, Chief Editor of ISTV Yumnam Rupachandra and Prof Kshetri Bimola of Manipur University took part at the national consultation.

At the roundtable on the “Role of media in building voters’ awareness” moderated by Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu N. Ram; ISTV Chief Editor Yumnam Rupachandra as rapporteur submitted the recommendations and findings. Patrica Mukhim , Editor of Shillong Times and Manpreet Randhawa of Hindustan Times also participated at the roundtable.

In the discussion, it was noted that voter participation was described as voters participating in “an informed way in elections that are free, fair and socially just.” It was emphasised that developing a sense of citizenship, overcoming feelings of alienation and marginalisation was also integrally connected with voter participation.

Participants in the discussion said that there was also a need for greater and sustained interaction between the Election Commission of India and the media at various levels working journalists, senior editors and media proprietors.

It was pointed out that the print medium had been used extensively but invariably through paid advertisements. “This needs to change and all the media should do more in this regard on a voluntary and unpaid basis,” the group recommended.

Mr. Ram noted that paid news, as a phenomenon which came to the fore during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections and also in some Assembly polls, had given a “very bad name” to the press.

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