Compulsory voting impossible: Election Commission



Bangalore: Election Commission on Wednesday made it clear that it's impossible to have compulsory voting in the country, given the large scale workforce in the unorganised sector.

"At a scale like in general elections, it's just not possible for us to implement that," Chief Election Commissioner Navin B Chawla told a news conference here. "It's very difficult. Completely impossible."

Chawla said some of his counterparts overseas have told him that compulsory voting hasn't succeeded in their countries, where they received large number of medical certificates from people who did not vote.

He indicated that one of the key reasons for inability to implement compulsory voting is because a large part of the Indian population is in unorganised sector.

Chawla wondered how EC can decide what's more important for a person in the unorganised sector -- a day's wages or voting. In addition, he pointed out that employers in the unorganised sector are reluctant to give a day's off to their employees and pay mandatory wages for that day.

But CEC said it's for the Parliament and state Legislatures to take the "first call" on the subject of compulsory voting.

Chawla flatly rejected allegations in some quarters that Electronic Voting Machines can be tampered with.

"We are 100 per cent satisfied with the integrity of the machines. We have looked, re-looked, tested, re-tested....we are completely satisfied," he said.

On the issue of "paid news" during election time, Chawla said chairman of the Press Council convened two meetings in which EC officials were represented. EC is now awaiting a report from the Press Council in this regard.

Chawla and Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said the Election Commission is concerned by urban voter apathy. Efforts are being made to draw out people to vote.

Quraishi said the EC is in the process of setting up an expenditure monitoring division.

PTI