Address by Governor on the occasion of release of a publication ’25 years of Maharashtra State Election Commission’
Address by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra on the occasion of release of a publication ‘25 years of Maharashtra State Election Commission’ at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai at 1100 hrs on Monday 26 August 2019
Shri J S Saharia, State Chief Election Commissioner, State Election Commission, Maharashtra, Shri Kiran Kurundkar, Secretary, officers and staff,
I am indeed delighted to release the publication that showcases the journey of the State Election Commission, Maharashtra during the last 25 years.
During the last 25 years, and more particularly during the last 5 year tenure of Shri Saharia Ji, the Commission took several innovative and reformative initiatives for the free, fair and transparent conduct of elections to Urban and Rural Local Bodies in keeping with the spirit of the historic 73rd and 74th Amendments to the Constitution.
By publishing the Coffee Table Book, the Commission has documented the important initiatives taken during the last few years. I am sure the this will help in disseminigating information to all and contribute to the strengthening of democracy at the grassroots level.
The Book will also provide the citizens and elected representatives access to information about local institutions and their elections that are central to their day-to-day lives.
I wish and hope that the Coffee Table Book will be found useful by members of polity, bureaucracy, academia, civil society, and others. It will create awareness about the enormous and complex role of the State Election Commission, Maharashtra regarding the conduct regular and fair elections to LSGs in the state.
During these 25 years, SECM has set benchmark standards in India and at the international-level by promoting innovative measures and strategies for increased and improved voting participation amongst citizens and providing a level playing field for candidates and political parties. This, along with electoral reforms including use of Electronic Voting Machines, introduction of NOTA, introduction of marker pen, registration/ deregistration of political parties, submission of software-generated nomination papers and affidavits by candidates, public display of criminal record and assets of candidates, use of modern technology for effective implementation of Model Code of Conduct, filing of election expenses by candidates, etc. have been landmark and transformative to facilitate fairness, accountability and transparency in elections.
In recent years, the SECM has furthered its commitment towards knowledge creation and dissemination, promoting and supporting research initiatives along with setting up of Institute of Democracy and Elections for Good Governance (IDEGG). The institution is a first of its kind in India, initiated as a Knowledge Wing to support SECM and other SECs across the country. The celebration of 25 years of 73rd & 74th Constitutional Amendment Acts began with National Conference in 2017, followed by regional conferences, national-level workshops of experts, an International Conference in 2018. In March 2019, SECM with representation from secretaries of various SECs organized a two-day workshop in Lonavala, Pune. This Coffee Table table is a complete and precious resource of various such efforts and initiatives undertaken over the years.
Going into the future, it is essential to celebrate, promote, and protect the democratic ethos and frameworks at every level of government, ensuring elections to them are free, fair, and transparent. This is the task and responsibility of SECs as far as local bodies are concerned, and the efforts so far made by them in these 25 years should lead and guide future practices that promotes and ensures better elections.
I wish the book all the success. I am hopeful it will reach and read by all relevant stakeholders, and contribute to the process of strengthening democracy at the grassroots and Nation Building. Once again, I would like to congratulate SECM for undertaking this project and successfully publishing this manuscript as a Coffee Table Book.
|Shri. Ch. Vidhyasagar Rao,
Hon’ble Governor arrives & Welcome
|Introductory Remarks by Shri J. S. Saharia,
Hon’ble State Election Commissioner, Maharashtra
|Release of Coffee Table Book
(25 Years of State Election Commission, Maharashtra)
|Guidance by the Hon’ble Governor
|Vote of Thanks by Shri. Kiran Kurundkar,
Secretary, State Election Commission, Maharashtra