SVEEP aims at raising voter participation

Consider first time voter as plus point for selection in government job 
In democratic election, voter is the central actor and its participation in the democratic and electoral processes is integral to the successful running of any democracy and the very basis of wholesome democracy.
In India and across the world, the imperative of enhanced voters’ participation in Elections is no more a matter of debate, but a serious assignment.
In recent decades, the world has seen a considerable decline in voter’s participation in elections, which would inevitably point to a democracy deficit.
Thus, it becomes an integral part of election management to start a campaign to create awareness among the voters, highlighting the aims and objectives.
Well before the announcement of Lok Sabha elections various organizations started appealing to voters to use the right to franchise and to make an informed choice of candidates who could uphold tenets of Constitution.
In this context, the various activists pressing for electoral reforms have lauded the Election Commission’s Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) programme, which aims to increase voter awareness and participation in the State. Rather, SVEEP activities are aimed at achieving cent per cent polling.
With the introduction of SVEEP campaign by the Election Commission of India, Lok Sabha elections 2014 is seeing comparatively good percentage of voters turning out to exercise their voting rights. So far elections have held for around 100 seats across the country and voting percentage has crossed the mark of 60 per cent almost everywhere.
In 2009 Lok Sabha elections the voter turn-out was 58.17 per cent and in 2004 it was 58.07 per cent, though we can see a gradual rise in the voting percentage, but the rise is not that appreciable.
Even if the voting percentage has crossed the mark of 60 per cent this elections, but there are still 40 per cent voters who do not cast their votes. Experts have different opinion on the visible and invisible reasons behind this.
With the present trend of percentage of votes so far in the 3rd Phase, it has impressive turn out with crossing 70 per cent and witnessing the highest polling percentage of 74.
There are many unforced reasons which make the people not to cast their votes. ? Like;
-People feel that there is no point in going to booth to vote, which is ultimately not a real choice.
-Rich and middle class people think that politics does not matter to them, because they have power of money. Hence, we see more votes from the poor people.
-Lack of political awareness. Many people feel that political system is not for them, as political affair is a much closed system in India.
-Democracy and voting is a 5-year affair, and in between there is no role of common man.
-Dominance of money power and muscle power in politics makes middle class and educated people away from it.
There is also a feeling among the political analyst as to whether any special incentive can attract voters to cast their vote? Taking cognizance of this view, the Election Commission of India, this time, has decided to issue appreciation letter to the first time voters which will give a message among the youths to enroll them next time.
An unemployed youth talking on the incentive on casting vote for the first time, he said, incentive like issuing appreciation letter and considering it a part of interview while joining the job, could be more useful It will motivate the youths for compulsory voting.
The introduction of Not Of The Above (NOTA) button was also expected but it is not going to solve the problem unless it is replaced with the ‘rejection of the candidate’. But it needs a serious consideration at the Election Commission level as it will involve re-election in the event of certain fixed percentage of vote.
There is lot of gap between what the voters ‘should know’ and what they ‘actually know’ in important areas like registration, EPIC/ identity proofs, Polling Station location, use of EVMs, timings of the poll, do’s & don’ts with regard to Model Code of Conduct, use of money/ muscle power or inducements by some candidates or their associates to influence vulnerable sections of electorate. These knowledge needs have also to be addressed by election managers with a sense of urgency.
All this is being done under the SVEEP scheme and by organizing seminars, rallies, to motivate the voters to cast vote for increasing the vote percentage.
Frankly speaking, there is a need to choose a candidate who will uphold the country’s values and protect their interests. By electing deserving candidates, citizens will be sending a message to political parties to field only good candidates.
SVEEP is going to made concrete achievements with striking regularity during the Lok Sabha elections and this time, the percentage of voting is likely to improve which will be a health sign of awareness among voters and electing the best of the candidates.
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