Election Commission’s cycle rally for the cause of Participative Elections

Pune: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Shri Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner (EC) Shri Anup Chandra Pandey launched the nation-wide Special Summary Revision (SSR) 2023 through various voter awareness building activities in Pune today.

The day started with the CEC and EC participating in a bicycle rally, the theme of which was ‘Pedal For Participative Elections’ which started from Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex Mhalunge in Balewadi in the early morning. The rally was flagged off by voters from different sections of society, including transgender persons, persons with disability, women, youth and others. Many eminent people from the city, including film personality Nagraj Manjule, Olympians Anjali Bhagwat, Manoj Pingale, Ajit Lakra and Trangender Acitivist Saanvi Jethwani.

More than 200 people voluntarily rallied in cycles to spread the message of ‘No Voter To Be Left Behind’ and create awareness of inclusive and accessible elections and the importance of registering for the electoral roll and participating in the democratic process. Many more cheered the cyclists along the 20 km route encompassing popular areas of the city like Baner Road, Pune University Square, Raj Bhavan, Bremen Square, Parihar Square, Medi-point Hospital, Jupiter Hospital and Ganraj Square, taken before returning to the starting point Balewadi Stadium.

Noticing high urban apathy and low young voters participation in Pune, the Election Commission participated in the voter awareness cycle rally in the city to motivate and mobilize the youth and society at large for proactive participation in the election process. In all states across the country, such awareness activities are being organized at a massive scale by concerned Chief Electoral Officers to create awareness and mobilize all stakeholders’ participation during the Special Summary Revision exercise.

Speaking on the occasion, CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar said, “We want to request to all the voters in the urban areas, all the youth to come participate in election process, get registered and vote. It is only through your voting that the democratic traditions become absolutely robust and strong”. The CEC said that there is a scope for increasing the voter participation from the urban areas.

This, he said, is a reason for national launch of SSR 2023 from the city of Pune. Although Summary Revision takes place every year, Election Commission is taking up a much focussed activity this year to increase voter-turnout and starting it all over country from Pune, he added. He further said, “Some of the cities do not really do that kind of voting and there is a whole lot of ground which we have to cover in urban areas and that is why this cycle rally was organised to create awareness”.

The CEC explained, “Everywhere in the country, every furthest possible states, be it hills, be it coastal lines, in inaccessible terrains, deserts, everywhere, every single citizen gets enlisted as a voter and strengthens the democracy by not only getting registered, but also casting his or her vote”. He also informed that India has more than 2.49 lakhs voters who are of the 100+ age group.

“What a relief and ecstasy it gives when you interact with them and find out that they have been voting in all through their lives”, he exclaimed. Paying tribute to the country’s first voter Late Shri Shyam Saran Negi, who was 106 years and recently left for heavenly abode, the CEC stated, “He did cast his vote through a postal ballot three days before his death. This is the spirit”.

Enroute cycle rally, CEC also stopped at certain places and interacted with localities to motivate them to become a part of the election process. The residents of Kasturba Vasahat welcomed the Election Commission enthusiastically and CEC asked the CEO, Maharashtra to facilitate enrolment of all eligible voters from the area.