New Delhi: As four states recorded highest- ever turnouts in history in the just-concluded assembly elections, the Election Commission has voiced hope that this "revolution" will lead to "complete participation" in the coming elections.
"The Commission is hopeful that in the coming elections, this increased participation will lead to complete participation," EC`s director general Akshay Raut said.
Raut, who is also incharge of the EC`s Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) cell, said, "The Commission is consciously feeling that this programme has converted itself into a participative revolution."
He said, "the participative revolution will increase further in the coming elections" and the Commission is happy that the electoral management programme has given good results.
The SVEEP cell has been set up by the Commission for educating voters across the country and ensuring their participation in elections.
The EC will further strengthen this programme, which works on the "principle of information, motivation and facilitation" and will help turn this programme into a national movement.
Raut said four states of Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Punjab and Uttarkhand that went to polls now, besides West Bengal and Tamil Nadu that went to polls last year, have shown historic records after India`s independence.
He added that 12 states that went to polls in the last two years have shown uniformal increase in voter participation, for which the Commission had worked on a number of programmes in the past few years.
To ensure that states make special efforts in bringing about complete participation of voters in the election process, Raut said the EC will also start giving awards to
states for better voter participation.
To help achieve this, the Commission is already seeking the participation of educational institutions and evolving methods like human chains, relay races and competitions, besides conducting knowledge behaviour surveys based on extreme systematic analysis.
He said the Commission has worked towards increased youth participation and wanted feminine focus in the voter education programmes to ensure increased women participation, which has shown results too.
"We wanted youth to become a face of participation in these polls. All the states that went to polls now have also shown increased women participation," he said.
Raut said the EC has also successfully fought urban apathy factor.
To a question, he said the Commission was in favour of participation by choice than by compulsion and did not favour "compulsory voting".
Talking about Uttar Pradesh, he said "the learning from UP will be taken forward and we will see the results further".
Raut said in Uttar Pradesh, the polling percentage of 59.48 per cent showed an increase of 45.81 per cent as compared to 2007 assembly polls, while in Punjab the increase was 8.96 per cent and in Uttarakhand it was 9.95 per cent, while in Goa the increase has been 17.63 per cent as compared to the last time.
Listing out some districts which showed a quantum jump in increase of polling percentages, he said Firozabad showed an increase of 98.33 per cent, Shrawasti 85.5 per cent, Kaushambi 77.5 per cent, Sonbhadra 71.95 per cent and Lucknow 70.77 per cent increase.
Lucknow city also showed an increase of 81.3 per cent in polling percentage as compared to last time, when it rose from 29.32 per cent in 2007 to 53.16 per cent in 2012 polls, while Mathura has shown an increase of 65.32 per cent in turnout,
which increased from 44.65 per cent in 2007 to 64.62 per cent now.