Commissioner Navin Chawla
makes voting compulsory in civic elections:
Gujarat Saturday became the first state in India to make voting
compulsory in all local body elections, with Chief Minister Narendra
Modi calling it a “move to strengthen.....
Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla Monday said there were
difficulties in making voting compulsory in the country due to the
huge size of the electorate.
Participating in a question-answer session after delivering a
lecture on “Electoral Democracy in India” at the Indira Gandhi
National Open University (IGNOU), he said there were 750 million
voters in the country and another 30 million would be added to the
electorate in January 2010.
“If you were in my place, how would
you enforce (compulsory voting) if 250 million people did not come
to vote?” he asked of the person who wanted the Election Commission
to make voting compulsory as Gujarat had done for local body
Later, answering queries from media
persons, Chawla said that Gujarat’s concerns state polls and “had a
completely different institutional body”.
He said it was for parliament to pass
any legislation on compulsory voting for the Lok Sabha and assembly
elections and the matter was not in the domain of the Election
Chawla declined to comment when asked
for his views on compulsory voting. “I am not answering that,” he
The Gujarat assembly Saturday adopted
a bill making voting compulsory in elections to all local bodies in
the state, which Chief Minister Narendra Modi termed it a “historic
move to strengthen democracy”.