23rd Mar 2019 10:03:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

As the election days   approach fast, the electorate of the world’s largest democracy is witnessing an ever increasing emphatic presence of the Election Commission of India. The measures which it had brought into play so far top ensure an unblemished election   had already earned unfaltering   reverence. And now furthermore, that it had   embarked on the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation   or SVEEP campaign, its esteem   must have multiplied proportionately.
Elections in India have always been   one of the most exacting processes in the country’s democratic tradition due to   the sheer scale, size, diversity, and complexity of the nation. Many challenges have emerged over the decades and it must be acknowledged that the ECI and its election management processes have gone from strength to strength to respond masterfully to them. Ensuring a desirable voters’ participation which is integral to the very basis of wholesome democratic elections is one such.
If it is the aspiration of the Indian Constitution that every adult citizen regardless of gender, formal education, socio-economic status or location would have a right to vote and every vote would count the same, ECI has successfully played the role of a facilitator and converted this aspiration into a reality.  
The history of the   birth of   this   frontline flagship program of ECI dates back to 2009 parliamentary elections when   417 million voters turned up to vote out of the 717 million registered voters,   creating a democratically unhealthy deficit of  300 million. Realising the gravity of this participation deficit,   ECI found that   issues like healthy and complete electoral rolls, urban apathy, women’s participation deficit and youth indifference to the electoral process were to be addressed on a priority basis   and voter education must be incorporated as a part of its   election management machinery. It started reaching out to citizens to understand what was stopping them from registering in electoral rolls and voting. And after thorough professional analysis of a considerable amount of feedback gathered in the process, it was in 2010 we saw the emergence of   SVEEP, which is going strong since then. 
The task of enthusing and inspiring the disinterested and alienated citizens and bringing them back to   the polling booths has been a gigantic effort and the ECI has displayed its true democratic character by not going solo and collaborating with a host of partners in the process. From educational institutions, youth organizations, state government departments like health, education, women & child development, cooperatives, media, civil societies and NGOs, the list is long. It got its reward in 2014 Lok Sabha elections, clocking an all-time record participation of 66.4 per cent, eight per cent higher than in 2009.
It is often said that records are made only to be broken. We will    have to wait till May 23 to see if the 2014   turnout record   gets shattered or remains intact.

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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