Hyderabad: The Chief Electoral Officer of Telangana, Dr Rajat Kumar, has regretted that money and mafia are playing a vital role in elections these days. This is so, because voters are not playing their role.

Speaking at a Voters’ Awareness Programme at Exhibition Grounds here on Saturday, organised by the Economic Committee of the Exhibition Society and the Osmania Graduates’ Association, he said the gravity of situation was such that even with a week to go before the polling, cash seized till now had gone up to Rs 104 crore which was Rs 28 crore higher than the overall amount seized during the full period in last elections which, in fact, covered entire of united Andhra Pradesh.

The CEO appealed to voters to participate in the democratic process by exercising their franchise, taking their family members, friends and neighbours along with them. “If any one offers cash, refuse it outright.

“From our side, we are working hard to control the role of money and mafia”. “While voting, please go by policies and promises of parties/candidates instead of merely personalities and parochial and narrow lines”.

He urged those having no voting right, to make at least five voters to vote”. Swelling in voters’ turnout would force the politicians to think about what people want–better security, transportation, and other facilities. That is how voting assumes paramount importance in a democracy.

If you want your voice heard, you should vote”.Dr Rajat Kumar said, every elected head, from sarpanch to the Prime Minister, was concerned about the needs of the people as, otherwise, they would be rejected next time.

“If you do not raise your voice by voting, no politician would be able help you. The politicians were bound by whatever you say by your vote”. He lamented that a sizeable chunk of the educated and urban voters were not going to the booths, thereby letting democracy down.

Highly educated people, professionals and most forward thinking groups were the ones who voted the least while in rural areas, the voting was reaching 80 to 90 per cent.In municipal elections, the voting was a mere 54 per cent not only in Hyderabad but in Mumbai and Delhi too.

The educated were busy and forgot that voting could ensure a better life. “One could also opt for Nota and if the number of Nota votes increases, the winning candidates should feel ashamed. If India was known outside, it was for its democracy. The Election Commission enjoyed a very good reputation all over the world.

Mexico invited its officers to demonstrate India’s election process, while Brazil and few other countries approached it to know the functioning of EVMs. Our EVMs and VVPATs are acclaimed high all over the globe, because of the protocols and legal framework they were placed in.

The tools used in Germany, the US and the Netherlands lacked legal framework. Highlighting the Commission’s efforts to enlist every section for voting, he said it gave a major thrust to people with disabilities (PwDs) this time, with the provision of special facilities such as free transport, ramps, wheel-chairs, parking slots and drinking water at the booths.

Braille ballot papers and voice-enabled EVMs were being used. “The Commission wants political parties to submit their manifestoes with a declaration that the promises made by them would do good to society. They were required to furnish information about the source of the money to implement their promises. Candidates, on the other hand, were asked to furnish details about their criminal antecedents and publish the same in newspapers thrice in big-sized letters.

He said, measures were initiated to phase out bogus voting, starting with electoral rolls. Any impersonation or malpractice at booths would be detected as, there would webcasting and surveillance by CCTV cameras. “We will further improve the system next time”.

Dr B. Prabha Shankar, president, Economic Committee, Dr. B. Srinivasa Rao, vice-president, Exhibition Society, Dr D. Gangadhar Rao, president, Osmania Graduates’ Association, and Mr Ashvin Margam, convener, were present.


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