The Pioneer

The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Odisha Election Watch (OEW) organised a seminar on “No Voter To Be Left Behind: Making Elections Inclusive and Accessible” on Friday here.

Odisha Election Watch coordinator Ranjan Kumar Mohanty welcomed the participants and guests. He said the main purpose is to discuss various aspects of actively engaging with different sections of society, both urban and rural, to make the elections more accessible and inclusive in nature.

Former Chief Secretary Sahadeva Sahoo chaired the session. He said increasing electoral participation and the importance of enhancing inclusion among various voter categories ultimately foster broader electoral participation.

India stands as world's largest democracy, a fact that underscores the significance of elections in the democratic process. Elections serve as a litmus test for democracy in action, allowing people to actively engage in shaping their Government and participating in crucial decision-making processes. Due to low voting rating elected Government is being formed with less than 50% of mandate which is not a good symbol for democracy,  said former senior adviser to the Election Commission of India Dr Bhagaban Prakash.

Former DG Police Amiya Bhusan Tripathy said in India, the right to vote is granted to every citizen above the age of eighteen, without any discrimination based on caste, community, gender, or religion.

The issues relating to migrant labour, distance to polling both, senior citizen moment and persons with disability need to be addressed, he said.

Intensive revising of voter list during the census period will help in increasing of voting, said former State Election Commissioner Odisha Sanjib Chandra Hota. Hota also emphasised on neutrality of election administration.

Among others, former Director H and FW Dr Seba Mohapatra, former Director, Door Darshan Kendra,  Bhubaneswar, Baikuntha Nath Mishra, Jagadananda of CYSD, Ghasiram Panda of ActionAid, Sneha Mishra from Aaina and chairperson PECUC Dr Minakshi Panda spoke.

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