Consensus should be built on compulsory voting: BJP
New Delhi: BJP President Nitin Gadkari on Monday
batted for making voting in elections compulsory but only
after a consensus was arrived at among political parties.
Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla has, however,
said it is almost impossible to enforce compulsory voting at
the national level during Lok Sabha and Assembly polls.
Talking to reporters here, Gadkari maintained that BJP
"in principle" supports compulsory voting but the issue should
be discussed among political parties to arrive at a wider
political consensus before implementing the idea.
"The government and the EC should initiate electoral
reforms before the 2014 elections," he said and suggested
periodic revision of electoral rolls to remove anomalies.
Gadkari's contention, however, does not have support of
some of the NDA constituents like JD(U) which has argued that
daily wage labourers may face problems in voting if it was
made compulsory as they would lose a day's earnings and those
working in the interior regions may have to travel long
distances to exercise their franchise.
The EC, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary, and
the government are contemplating certain changes in the
A private member's Bill, moved by V Narayansamy (Cong),
on making voting compulsory is already pending in Parliament.
The new BJP President also said paper back-up of votes
cast in EVM should also be kept. BJP has made several
petitions to the EC on the issue and believes EVMs can be
tampered with and evade detection. Gadkari agreed that
criminals should not be allowed in politics.