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Parliament


BJP lawmakers oppose party colleague's Bill on Compulsory Voting

New Delhi, Jul 12 (UNI) The democratic spirit was in full force in action in the Lok Sabha on Friday when BJP lawmakers opposed a party colleague's Private Member Bill on Compulsory Voting.
During the Private Member's Business in the House, while Maharajganj MP Janardhan Singh Sigriwal strongly favoured making voting a compulsory act on the part of all citizens, his fellow MPs and importantly from the saffron outfit itself Ajay Tena Misra and Nishikant Dubey opposed the same.
Apparently, Biju Janata Dal member Bhartruhari Mahtab also did not disapprove the idea of 'compulsory voting' saying voting is a matter of right under the Constitutional provisions and thus to make it 'compulsory' will imply making it a duty.
The government should clarify its stand on the matter, he said.
Piloting the Bill, Mr Sigriwal said when over 33 per cent of citizens do not cast their votes in elections that is a matter of concern.
"Making voting a compulsory proposition would make the Indian democracy more vibrant," he said.
However, speaking immediately after him, Mr Misra - a lawmaker representing Kheri parliamentary segment in Uttar Pradesh - said making voting a compulsory practice was not possible at this juncture ---- but he also said he is not opposing it just for the sake of opposing.
"With rise in education percentage among the population, people will voluntarily walk toward polling stations and exercise their franchise," he said.
Moreover, he said making voting a 'compulsory practice' would essentially require a Constitutional amendment and "it is always better to make such a thing voluntarilty".
Nishikant Dubey, Godda MP from Jharkhand, said as he listened to both the lawmakers, it appears both his party colleagues had merits in their respective arguments.
"Do no ki baton mein sachai nazar ati hae (I think, I see truth in both their arguments)," Mr Dubey said.
But giving global examples in general did not go down well. In Australia, they have compulsory voting , but yet the voters' turnout is not more than 90 per cent.
Moreover, he said countries like Italy and Netherlands have done away with compulsory voting in 1993 and 1968 respectively.
He also said in today's polity in India NOTA issue has emerged as a big issue before parliament and elected leaders.
The directives giving green signal to use of NOTA system came from a court ruling, he said.
UNI DEVN 2019
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