With Lok Sabha polls just a few months away, President Pranab Mukherjee on Saturday asked the country’s 1.27 crore new young voters to exercise their right of franchise in an informed manner and look beyond “narrow considerations”.
“Do exercise this power, and do exercise it responsibly. I hope all of you will use this opportunity and exercise the franchise every time in the most informed and ethical manner and go beyond narrow consideration,” he said, referring to those who just attained the age of 18 years to become eligible to vote.
Addressing the 4th National Voters’ Day programme in New Delhi to mark the establishment of the Election Commission, he urged the over 81 crore voters of the country to exercise their franchise with pride in every election.
“It is your fundamental right, please exercise it through increased participation. Electoral process and democracy in India will continue to grow in strength and vibrancy,” he said.
The President underlined that people of the country have shown courage of voting in “overwhelming” manner even in the face of threats and boycott calls by militant and naxal groups.
“Whenever anti-social elements have asked people to boycott the electoral process, voters have responded by turning out in large numbers to exercise their franchise,” he said.
He patted the back of the thousands of election officers and personnel across the country for their crucial role in “reinforcing the bricks of Indian democracy.”
Mukherjee said several countries gained independence along with India after the end of World War II and adopted democracy and Parliamentary system, only a few could thrive on the system.
He recalled that several countries either became dictatorships or were ruled by military juntas.
India, he said, despite its set of problems including poverty, was able to strengthen its democracy.