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Right to vote must be respected: President Ram Nath Kovind

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NEW DELHI : President Ram Nath Kovind said on Monday that the right to vote must be respected, noting that people around the world have struggled a lot to earn this right.

Addressing through virtual mode an event to celebrate the 11th National Voters’ Day, Kovind said even in America, one of the leading democracies in the world, people had to undertake decades of struggle to get this right. In Britain, women got the right to vote after a long fight, he said.

 

The condition was similar in India before Independence. But after India earned its freedom, anyone of 21 years of age and above were allowed to vote which was later reduced to 18, he said. “We should always respect the valuable right to vote.

The right to vote is not a simple right. People around the world have struggled a lot for this. Since Independence, our Constitution has given equal voting rights to all citizens without any discrimination on the basis of merit, religion, race, caste,” Kovind said.

The President said B R Ambedkar, the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, considered the right to vote as paramount. “Therefore, it is responsibility of all of us, especially our youth, who get the right to vote for the first time, to exercise their franchise with utmost sincerity, and inspire others too to do so,” he added.

He described as a unique achievement the conduct of successful and safe elections in Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

India has learnt from the traditions of Vaishali, Kapilavastu and Mithila that no class or dynasty has a monopoly over the government. In democracy, ‘Lok’ means the will of the people is paramount, he said.

He also said that inspired by the successful conduct of India’s election process, many countries have shown interest in studying our electoral system. Starting 2011, the National Voters’ Day is celebrated on January 25 every year to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission of India.

The main purpose of the National Voters’ Day celebration is to encourage, facilitate and maximise enrolment, especially for the new voters. Dedicated to the voters of the country, the day is utilised to spread awareness among voters and for promoting informed participation in the electoral process.