New Delhi: Strongly condemning the Gujarat government's move to make voting compulsory, Janata Dal (United) on Thursday termed it as "undemocratic and infringement" in the liberty of the citizen.
Parliament should take note of this and prevent it from happening, and this kind of experience with democracy should stop, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said here.
Voicing his opposition to the Gujarat government's move, Yadav said this was not practical in the country.
"I oppose this move strongly as this is not practical in our country," he said.
Gujarat has moved a Bill seeking compulsory voting in local body elections after getting the Governor's approval.
As per the Bill, any person who fails to vote during local body polls, is liable for "punishment and will be penalised," though it did not explain the exact nature of action.
Yadav accused the state government of diverting public attention from the real issues. "It is a ploy to divert the attention of the people from burning issues such as poverty and
unemployment and making compulsory voting will not solve these problems."
Making a comparison with other countries where such law exist, JD(U) chief said "Comparing our country with other countries around 20 where compulsory voting is there will not be justified due to demographic conditions in our country."
He further said "here people struggle for their bare minimum needs for living. Instead of addressing those serious issues, an attempt has been made to divert the people's attention to other areas."
Elections to local bodies in Gujarat are scheduled for mid-2015. However, anticipating wider opposition from parties, the Election Commission and constitutional experts, the state government has decided not to notify the Bill lest there are legal implications.
Seeking Election Commission's intervention, Yadav said "I am sure our EC will further take a note of that under any circumstances compulsory voting shall not be agreed to in our country."
Election Commissioner H S Brahma has expressed his view that the Gujarat government's move to make voting compulsory in elections to local bodies "may not be correct".
"I agree with Brahma who has rightly articulated his view about compulsory voting. If we have similar law at the Centre as the Gujarat state is planning, then out of 83 crore plus voters, 10 per cent choose not to vote and in that case will you put eight crore voters in jail or impose penalty on them?" he asked.