IMPHAL, January 25: The governor of Manipur, VK Duggal, administered the National Voters Day pledge at an observation held at the auditorium hall of the Manipur Film Development Corporation today.
He told the youths at the gathering that they should fully understand the meaning of the voters’ pledge which will determine their future, while encouraging them to fulfil their role as an important part of the democratic system.
He said the young people are mentally well-equipped after reaching the age of 18 years. A responsibility has been put on their shoulders by giving them the right to exercise their franchises, he stated and added their decision should not be controlled by external influences.
Manipur has an outstanding tradition of democratic process, having conducted its first election in 1948 even before its merger with India, he stated while noting that the extremely impressive polls saw a high participation of voters. He further remarked that the Manipur women outshone their male counterparts at the times of voting, and described it as very encouraging.
The youths who have taken the pledge today should understand the power of the pledge which holds their destiny, he stated. Autocratic style of functioning creates problem for democracy and the rights of the people as guaranteed by the Constitution of India are robbed, he added.
People should raise their voices if they come across instances of denial of their rights, because their roles entrusted by the pledge and democratic norms cannot be found in other places, he stated.
These last 60 year we have conducted various several elections in our country successfully. The pledge is rock solid and no coercion or manoeuvring tactic should be allowed to influence their decisions, he advised.
Young voters have to run our society and the country in the future. They have to understand the right way to exercise their voting rights. The pledge tells you that nobody can make threat or argue against your wishes, he added.
PC Lawmkunga, chief secretary of Manipur while speaking as the president of the function said that the day has been celebrated every year since 2011 to enhance the participation of citizens specially the youth in the democratic electoral process and to motivate the youth to become perfect citizens of India.
The ECI has been running a systematic voter education scheduel and their role in the electoral process through participation campaigns, essay competition, road show, panel discussion. We have had tremendous success and the youth icons throughout the country including boxer Mary Kom had contributed.
He further added that during last 60 years ECI has conducted 15 general elections of Lok Sabha, 331 general elections of legislative Assembly.
In our state context the EC has been successfully implemented this programme since 2011. We have 17,400,00 voters electoral roll today. The percentage of youth between 18 and 20 years who had registered as voters have shot up. Polling station has been rationalized and training of BLOs, BOs and other officers have been conducted..
Some youths were handed fresh EPIC cards by the Governor and the chief secretary. Later the winner of the essay competition was honoured.
State CEO O Nabakeshore was present as the guest of honour at the observation.
The day was also observed at the irawat Bhawan, organised by the All India Youth Federation, Manipur State Council.
Speaking as the chief guest at the observation, former minister, Art and Culture, Dr M Nara Singh suggested that the present electoral system is unfit for the present scenario and needed to be overhauled for a free and fair election.
Dr. Nara said , “ The electoral system continuing from past generations in the country should be overhauled as it is defective and unsuitable. The system, put in place by the British Emperor, is named as First Pass the Post (FPTP) and should change to Proportionate Electoral System.
Further appealing to the people to understand the electoral system, he alleged that the present system has enabled various scams and corruption in the state to happen, adversely affecting many citizens.
M Tombi Singh, president, Janata Dal United, stated that the representative of the state should not be called as elected but instead should be termed as selected because they buy the voters to win elections.
“If someone stands for election, people ask how much money he/she has and without money it is difficult to win an election which is so unfortunate.”
He appealed for a free and fair elections and urged people to elect candidates instead of selecting candidates them.
To repeal AFSPA from the state the citizens of the state must think and elect an appropriate candidate for the coming Lok Sabha elections who can argue for rescinding it at the Parliament, he concluded.