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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Advani favours compulsory voting

Observing that voting percentage among the educated section was far lower than that in the lower rungs of society, senior BJP leader L K Advani has favoured compulsory voting as a remedial measure.

"If a survey is taken of the comparative percentage of voting in different sectors of the society, classified education wise, I have little doubt that voting percentage among the graduates, post graduates and those in the still higher categories, would be far, far lower than at the lower rungs of society," Advani says in his latest blog.

Arguing that such a situation is bound to affect the quality of Indian democracy, he said, this can be changed through the simple measure of compulsory voting.

"...I feel it can be (changed). One simple way is the innovative measure adopted by Narendra Bhai Modi – compulsory voting," he said.

Advani said Gujarat has introduced this measure for all local body elections. "The Law has been passed by the state Assembly, but it is still to be implemented. The rules etc. Are still being worked out".

The senior BJP leader goes on to say that many people in India would not be aware that as many as 25 countries inhabited by more than 700 million people today have compulsory voting even for their parliamentary election.

These countries include Australia, Argentina, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Turkey, Thailand and Singapore. "I feel political thinkers in India also must apply their mind to this".

The former BJP President said that in contemporary political literature, a lot of concern is being expressed about the fact that in some of the important democracies of the world like Canada, UK, and France, voter turnout has been gradually declining.

"Compulsory voting, it is being increasingly felt, may be a remedy," he said.

Advani also cites the history of electoral reforms in Britain to dispel the "general cynicism prevalent in India" that there is no real remedy for the growing influence of money power in elections.

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