Saying the general elections in a Democracy were akin to a sacred ritual, President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday urged all citizens to be part of this ritual by participating in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

“Each vote will encourage another voter, and each vote will strengthen our Democracy,” the President said at a function to celebrate the 9 National Voters Day. The President said every vote counts equally in the formation of the government, adding that large organisations functions under the Election Commission (EC) to ensure that every voter is able to exercise his or her voting right.

“The complexity of the task — beginning with the preparation of electoral rolls and concluding with the declaration of election results — is difficult to comprehend for an ordinary person. Yet, through all this, the credibility of our electoral system has continuously strengthened. Our voters have a firm belief in the integrity, diligence, fairness and transparency of the EC and the electoral process,” the President said.

The President was also of the opinion that the country’s size and the logistics of holding elections makes it critical to embrace modern technology.

Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Law said there was a need to not only trust but also respect the sanctity of the EC.

Without naming any political party, the Minister said the electronic voting machines (EVMs) had also decided the victory and defeat of the party that he represented.

Inclusive approach

Sunil Arora, Chief Election Commissioner outlined the various initiatives which the Commission has taken to ensure that all categories of voters are included in the electoral process.

“The Commission has taken initiatives for enhancing women’s participation and the turnout of women voters in recent elections has been encouraging,” Arora said adding that the Commission is committed to making the electoral process accessible to all persons with disabilities.

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said the gender gap has come down from 16.7 per cent in 1962 elections to 1.5 per cent in 2014 with women’s participation in the electoral process increasing from 46.6 per cent to 65.06 per cent.