Governor Bandaru Dattatraya, graced and addressed the 10th National Voters' Day celebrations at Gaiety Theatre, Shimla, today. Speaking on the occasion, the Governor said that Indian democracy was a shining example for the world. “We are both the largest and most diverse democracy. And while the contribution of all stakeholders in our election process is important, two stakeholders stand out. These are the voters and the Election Commission. In their roles, they complement each other”, he added.He said that National Voters Day, celebrated every year on 25 January was significant for every citizen of India. On this day, we should take an oath of participation in every election of their nation, as a vote of every person laid the foundation for the future of the country, he added. While congratulating the young voters for getting the right for the first time to the franchise, he said they have got the opportunity to be voters in the world's largest democracy, which was a matter of pride. “You should use this right with information, responsibility, morality and sensitivity, and the future of new India will be determined only by voting based on his discretion”, said Dattatraya. He hoped that they will cooperate in strengthening the ideals and values of the Constitution of India.Shri Dattatraya lauded the role of the State Election Department and said that they have discharged their responsibilities with complete impartiality and added that they have been conducted election process smoothly, but has also encouraged voters to actively participate in the democratic process of elections. He said that Himachal has about 5209670 voters and the number of polling stations is 7792 and many of these centres were in tough areas. He said that the department has made special arrangements for many voters due to their physical condition in these areas.
But, facing every challenge, the voting process was concluded with fairness and success due to the joint efforts of our voters and the Election Department and they deserved appreciation for this success, he added.The Governor noted the 'theme' of this year's Voters' Day is “Electoral literacy for a stronger democracy”. To achieve this objective, Electoral literacy clubs at polling booth level and electoral literacy clubs in schools, colleges and universities had been established by the Election Department besides Voter awareness forums have proved to be helpful to achieve the objective.Earlier, the Governor also inaugurated the photo exhibition put up by National Commission of India presented by Public Relations and Communication Bureau.The Governor also administered the pledge of electoral literacy to all citizens present on the occasion. The Governor also presented State award to Yunus Khan, Director, Tourism recommended by Election Commission of India and State Level Awards for Best Electoral Practices to Vijay Kumari and Santosh Kumari from Una, Shanti Devi from Kullu, Paramjit Singh from Kangra and Tirtha Nand Shastri at District Level from Shimla. He also felicitates Shalini as State Icon of Election Department on the occasion.
The Governor also released the calendar of State Election Department on the occasion.Chief Electoral Officer Rupali Thakur welcomed and honoured the Governor on the occasion and said that trends showed that involvement of vote percentage increased in every election in the state. She said that during 2018 Lok Sabha Election the vote per centage was 72.42 and in Assembly Constituency it was 75.57 per cent. She said that on this day the commission felicitates 18+ new voters to pay attention for other voters. She added that various literacy programme has been conducted at school to university level by the election department for future Electoral to ensure their participation. She said that special attention has been paid to excessible election as every vote was important for the commission and every step have been taken and facilities have been provided by the ECI to the voters to smoothly use their franchise.Additional Deputy Commissioner Apurv Devgan, Shimla proposed the vote of thanks.A cultural programme including a skit on ' Vote Dena Zariori Hai' by Natya Nukriti, a solo performance by Gulab Sing, Karyala and folk dance by district Shimla cultural troupe were also performed on the occasion. Secretary to Governor Rakesh Kanwar, officers from district administration and State election department were also present on the occasion.