Remarks by Governor on the occasion of briefing on various initiatives by Maharashtra State Election Commission and release of the booklet ‘Major Initiatives’
Remarks by Shri CH. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Maharashtra on the occasion of briefing on various initiatives by Maharashtra State Election Commission and release of the booklet ‘Major Initiatives’ at Raj Bhavan, Mumbai at 5.00 pm on Thursday 8 June 2017
Shri J. S. Saharia, State Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Shekhar Channe, Secretary, State Election Commission, officials of the Commission, members of media, invitees, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon and welcome to Raj Bhavan.
I was very happy to know about the various initiatives taken by the Maharashtra State Election Commission to make our democracy participatory and truly representative.
Under the leadership of Shri J S Saharia, the State Election Commission has taken various initiatives to bring more transparency in the conduct of elections and to increase voter participation in the election process.
I congratulate the State Election Commission for successfully conducting elections to 10 Municipal corporations, 191 Municipal councils, 19 Nagar Panchayats, 25 Zilla Parishads, 283 Panchayat Samitis and 50 Gram Panchayats during October 2016 and February 2017.
These elections involved a record 6.43 Crore voters, which is only little less than the population of entire Europe !! That shows the importance and magnitude of the work of the State Election Commission, for which all of you deserve our wholehearted compliments.
Early this year, the State Election Commission had launched various technology-driven initiatives like Operation Black Dot, Gupshup, Facebook Messenger, etc with a view to connecting the youths, first time voters and, perhaps, even the reluctant voters with the election process. I am glad to note that outcomes of these initiatives have been highly encouraging,
As Chancellor of Universities, I am happy to mention that many universities have taken steps to encourage registration of new voters as soon as students enroll in universities. I do feel that it should be possible to make Voter Registration and transfer of names entirely online.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As I have already said, the Maharashtra State Election Commission is perhaps the busiest Election Commissions in the entire country. The work of the State Election Commission is vast, diverse and more complex. Its work is not limited only to the period of conducting elections. The Commission work is continuous and ongoing. Delimitation of constituencies in local bodies generally takes place every 5 years, making the task of the Commission more complex.
As against conducting elections for 48 Lok Sabha and 288 Assembly seats by the State CEO of Election Commission of India, the State Election Commission conducts election for more than 2.5 lakh representatives, which is absolutely huge.
I do feel that the silent work of the State Election Commission needs recognition, support and appreciation.
Quite often, people perceive the State Election Commission as the State Branch of the Election Commission of India.
I think more efforts are needed to change this wrong perception and create awareness about the remarkable work of the State Election Commission especially among people living in cities and rural areas.
The Commission deserves our wholehearted appreciation for doing full justice to its work in keeping with the spirit of the 73rd and 74th Constitutional amendments.
I am glad that the Election Commission got a Voter Survey conducted through the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics to find out why voter turn-out is low in some areas.
The findings of the Voter Survey are interesting.
I noticed that Voter apathy especially in city voters is one of the main causes for the low voter turn-out. It is worrying as, according to the Survey, women, youth and highly educated voters tend to be ‘rare or intermittent voters’. This picture must change.
I was happy to release the booklet on ‘Major Initiatives’ of the State Election Commission and other publications today. I applaud and support the State Election Commission in its excellent initiatives and wish it success in its endeavours.
Thank you !