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Voting is duty, not just a right

City Bureau

COIMBATORE: As campaigning came to a halt on Monday, the strong message that went out to the public was “Voting is not just a right, but also duty".

The call to vote without fail was among the views expressed by various persons under the aegis of the Glow Coimbatore interface series organised by The Hindu and the Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Coimbatore. The interface that was first slated for April 2 was postponed to April 9. But, it could not be held owing to reasons relating to elections.

The Hindu and Chamber of Commerce, however, decided to publish through this column the views expressed by people on the democratic duty of every citizen with the right to vote, or even not to cast a vote under the 49 (O) provision.

District Election Officer and District Collector

P. Umanath

The Collector urged the voters to discharge their democratic duty by casting their vote on April 13. He said that election is the starting as well as the culmination point of government in a democracy and hence people need to recognise its significance and exercise their right to vote without fail. He assured that the district administration had made all efforts to make the polling process free, fair and friendly for the users.

N. Markandan, former Vice-Chancellor of Gandhigram Rural University

The former Vice-Chancellor said all the eligible voters must exercise their voting rights for the “survival of democracy”.

He said that it was necessary to vote for the candidates who were above caste, religion and linguistic fanaticism. Corruption in the field of politics and administration was mainly responsible for the rise in prices of essential commodities.

Hence, if we do not vote for a person known for integrity and service to the common people, democracy would become meaningless. Above all the candidate must be easily accessible to the people.

He said that deserving candidates are there in different political parties and also as independent candidates and appealed to the voters to caste their vote in favour of deserving candidates.

M.G. Devasahayam, Convenor of Forum for Electoral Integrity

Mr. Devasahayam said the public were quite happy about the Election Commission being very strict in checking the malpractice of cash for votes.

While there might be a negligible section that might be drawn to the booths attracted by these freebies, a large section of the discerning lot have made honesty as the deciding factor in casting their vote, he added.

Whatever may be the driving factor, Mr. Devasahayam believes that people will come out to vote in large number this time. The trend is very evident and this has led to a different kind of campaign in certain places.

“Some people are visiting homes urging them not to vote fearing an adverse result. Rampant corruption and scams have made people realise that it is honesty and integrity that are watchwords they looki for in an ideal candidate,” he says.

A. Subramani, Director – Operations, 5th Pillar

Mr. Subramani said people have realised this time that ‘Voting is a Duty' more than ‘Voting is a Right'. He strongly believes that the percentage of people coming to vote will be considerably high.

“Most of them are eager to cast their vote. They want to be part of the democratic process. Whether they will exercise their franchise to vote for a candidate or use the Rule 49 (O) is not sure. But they want to do something on their part,” he says. He has been part of the FFEI team that has been visiting many institutions creating awareness among young voters about voting as a duty.

He believes that media has made a beginning by highlighting the personal details of the candidates thereby creating awareness among the public about them. Knowledge about corruptions and scams has created a positive impact in people to make them part of the electoral process. “

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