PANAJI: Governor Satya Pal Malik was the chief guest at the 10th National Voters Day celebrations held at Kala Academy, Campal, Panaji The function was organised by Office of the Chief Electoral Office, Goa in association with the District Electoral Officer, North Goa. The function was attended by large number of students, officials and persons from media. In the beginning National Anthem was played and Voters Pledge was administered.
Thereafter, message from Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sunil Arora on the occasion of 10th National Voters Day was screened.The theme for NVD 2020 is ‘Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy’. The theme sets the tone for year-long activities which focus on voter education and renewal of citizens’ faith in the electoral process.
Present on the occasion were State Election Commissioner, Shri R K Srivastava, Chief Secretary, Parimal Rai, Chief Electoral Officer, Kunal, Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Narayan Sawant.
Governor while addressing the gathering said that India is the largest democracy in the world. The voters are biggest stakeholders in the democracy and they should ensure that they cast their vote on merit and must see the program and policies of the candidates and political parties without getting influenced by caste, creed or religion. The exercise of elections aims participation of all the citizens, which he said, will help to strengthen the democracy.
The Governor also said right of voting is a weapon to decide between right and wrong and on the day of voting, everyone is equal and such an important right has to be exercised with proper care. He appealed to the people to participate in large number to exercise their voting right. He stressed upon the need for voter education and appreciated the efforts of Election Commission of India in this regard.
State Election Commissioner R K Srivastava appreciated the efforts of election machinery in Goa. He explained the difference between roles and responsibilities of Election Commission of India and State Election Commission.
He stated that after 73rd and 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India, State Election Commission has been established to conduct elections to the local bodies viz Zilla Parishad, municipalities, panchayats. He requested all to participate in large number in upcoming Zilla Parishad elections.
Chief Secretary Parimal Rai congratulated the election machinery led by CEO Goa in successful conduct of Parliament Election, 2019 and being the first to complete Elector Verification Program. In his address he said that we have to congratulate ourselves for having the right to govern ourselves which is the strength of democracy. "We derive this right from our Constitution. Our Constitution provides us the platform to live with liberty without any barrier of caste, creed, language and religion that’s why this day is very important for us. Along with this right, another strong right which we derive from Constitution is adult franchise,a right to vote irrespective of caste, religion, language, sex, race or community. This right we must exercise in every election," he said.
Rai also said that a right without responsibilities would make it an authoritarian society and responsibilities without rights leads to bonded labour. Therefore while enjoying rights we cannot overlook our responsibilities. So it our bounden duty to participate in the process of election and make proper choice based on merits.
Chief Electoral Officer Kunal in his welcome address explained in brief the activities of election machinery in last one-year. He stated that great emphasis was laid on accessible and eco-friendly conduct of Parliament Election, 2019. He thanked all NGOs working in the field of accessibility, social welfare department and public works department in ensuring maximum tagging of persons with disabilities in electoral roll and also in creating assured minimum facilities in all polling stations.
Kunal further stated that with intervention of Chief Secretary, sufficient number of wheelchairs have been procured to ensure availability of wheelchairs at every location. These wheelchairs have now been distributed to all public institutions to ensure accessibility in Goa.