National Voters' Day: Narendra Modi asks 'young friends' to register; leaders, state heads echo PM; Congress leaders speak for 'plurality'

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with politicians across party lines, present and former government position holders and journalists, took to social media to encourage more people to take part in India's electoral process on the country's ninth National Voters' Day.

National Voters Day: Narendra Modi asks young friends to register; leaders, state heads echo PM; Congress leaders speak for plurality

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik's sculpture for National Voters' Day. Twitter/@sudarsansand

The exercise to sensitise would-be voters, organised by the Election Commission of India, will be taken up at more than six lakh locations covering around 10 lakh polling stations across the country.

Modi issued greetings on Twitter for the day and wrote, "This is a day to reaffirm our commitment towards further strengthening our democracy by unfailingly participating in democratic processes at the local, state and national levels. Your doing so will go a long way in building a New India."

With the country going into the general elections soon, Modi also urged people "from all walks of life" to create awareness on voter registration. "...especially request my young friends to register themselves as voters if they have not done so already. Every vote cast enhances our democratic fabric," he added on Twitter.

Former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi included a bit of trivia in his tweet on when and where the idea to celebrate a National Voters' Day was hatched. "The idea was born in a civil society meeting in Bhubaneswar in 2010. It has proved to be the biggest youth empowerment programme. And the biggest reason for the highest turnout of voters ever since," he wrote.

Websites Facebook and Google have requested voters to register themselves as well, reported Moneycontrol.

Sand artist and Padma Shri awardee Sudarsan Pattnaik tweeted a sculpture he made on the Puri beach on the occasion.

While several BJP leaders, including Union ministers Smriti Irani, Babul Supriyo, Piyush Goyal, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Dharmendra Pradhan, and state unit handles tweeted using the #NationalVotersDay, the Bihar wing of the party (#BJP4Bihar) notably used a dialogue from the film Newton to get the message across.

The sentiment that the time is ripe for voters to register themselves pervaded among opposition party leaders as well, with Trinamool Congress chief and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeting on the importance of "being able to cast a vote" and asking people to exercise their franchise. "[The ability to] elect a person of our choice is what makes us the world’s largest democracy. It is extremely important that the voters, specially the new, young voters, exercise their franchise in the upcoming general elections," she wrote.

Among other BJP state chief ministers who tweeted on the day were Maharashtra's Devendra Fadnavis who wrote, "Voting is not only a right to elect a government of our own choice but also (to) remember that it is our duty too! Every vote counts and has power to create wonders for progress of our Nation!" Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar appealed to all citizens to create awareness on the need to vote and build a strong nation, as did Manipur chief minister Nongthombam Biren, Odisha's Naveen Patnaik and Gujarat's Vijay Rupani.

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, whose Congress government was recently voted to power, focused on the necessity of strong democratic institutions. "On this #NationalVotersDay, let's pledge to strengthen the democratic institutions of country which have played a key role in strengthening the roots of democracy. Let's salute the indomitable will of Indian voters, which has kept the democratic spirit alive and thriving," he tweeted.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi took the opportunity to point out the significance of voting in a country of plurality, tweeting that this was the value enshrined by the writers of the Constitution of India who were, "were militant in their idea of India being a plural and democratic nation. Let us hope that the same is carried forward by the next generation as well".

Former Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah emphasised in his tweet that "a person who doesn't vote loses the moral right to condemn the inefficiencies and injustices." Among others who stressed on the necessity for a free electoral process involving all were journalist Abhijit Majumdar and JSPL head and former Congress MP Naveen Jindal.

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Updated Date: Jan 25, 2019 13:34:09 IST

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