Leader Writer: Kshetrimayum Sopen
India celebrates today the fourth National Voter’s Day with the theme of ‘Ethical Voting’ across the country in coordination with the various state Chief Electoral Officers and for this purpose, the Election Commission of India had already asked all the CEOs of States and Union Territories that ECI would like to review the preparedness, arrangement and progress with regard to the celebration of the National Voter’s Day through Video Conference with the CEOs. National Voter’s Day is started from January 25, 2011.
The ECI also reviewed the status of Summary Revision reporting format as given on PGR portal, appointment of Campus Ambassador, submission of Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation which is known as SVEEP Plan for the ensuing Lok Sabha 2014 etc.
The level of awareness in Manipur of the national voter’s day seems to be very low as compare with other states of India. For this matter, Utter Pradesh can be cited as an example. Utter Pradesh government has prepared to celebrate national voters’ day for one week starting from January 18. As of January 24, media community in Manipur has not received invitation of organising national voter’s day in the state from the CEO Manipur. And also Manipur media has no knowledge of inducting any celebrity/icon as Ambassador for this purpose as ECI has asked state CEOs to engage cultural or sport icon as ambassador. There may be reason for not implementing the ECI instruction but the reason should be made known to public as the service of the government is accountable to people.
And more importantly, the theme of this year’s national voter’s day “Ethical Voting” is worth reporting as it is almost absent in any level of election starting from college to parliament in the present Manipur society. The people of Manipur are only active in the time election, and after election they forget about the election. They are then waiting for another election to come so that they could have money. The practice of accepting money for vote in the assembly and parliamentary election is so transparent in Manipur that everybody knows how many amounts one voter gets from one candidate in an Manipur assembly election.
In such social and political back ground, the awareness for ethical voting has a lot of meaning. Apart from Manipur government and state CEO, the awareness and advocacy of ethical voting must be taken by the regional and left political parties operating in the state as they are projected themselves as people friendly and at the same time less money power as compare with the national political parties of the country. It is noteworthy to mention here the report of National Election Watch that the national political parties get donation from the MNC and also have foreign funding in terms of crores of rupees which will ultimately use for winning elections held across the country. Then the political party which gets funding from MNC will govern the country in the interest of the MNC, not for the people of the country.
However, there emerges an awakened citizen across the country and they endeavour for a changed India. One example of such awakening India is the movement of Anna Hazare who movement against corruption and his fight has changed government and politics in the capital of India and other parts of the country. Such wave of awakened citizen of the country fails to reach the mind of the people of Manipur.
One important point worth mentioning here is the absence of people-hood in Manipur which means that Manipuri remains as subject.