Thursday , 27 February 2020
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Governor Satya Pal Malik addressing a gathering during an event organised on the occasion of National Voters’ Day in Panaji on Saturday.

Governor: caste and money still play vital role in elections

Panaji: Governor Satya Pal Malik on Saturday said that despite the fact that positive changes have been brought about in the election process in the country, caste and money are still the major factors that play a role in polls. 

“It is not visible, but every political party while distributing tickets takes into consideration the caste of candidates and they take into account the caste of the voters while nominating a candidate. This is a practice by every party,” the Governor said, addressing a gathering at a function organised by the office of Chief Electoral Officer to observe ‘National Voters’ Day’ in the city.

Narrating an incident about how community-based voting in India overpowers other qualifications and eligibility of candidates, Malik said, “Biradri (community) is such a bad thing in elections that no other thing will matter. In this country, during Parliament elections, I have seen this community factor failing only on two or three occasions.”

The Governor further said that during the election that took place after the death of Indira Gandhi, the spirit of nationalism got ignited and votes were cast in the right manner. A similar voting pattern was witnessed when Narendra Modi came in, he said and added that whenever the spirit of nationalism gets ignited, the community factor fails during election.

The Governor said that there are many ‘defects in North India’s Panchayati Raj system’. “If the Zilla board elections are conducted directly, everything is okay, but if it is done indirectly then every vote is sold for a minimum of Rs 50 lakh. Panchayats started getting funds and because of this, the pradhans spend in crores. People have destroyed the purity of votes; hence the society ought to fight this evil,” he said.

Stating that voting should be ethical, Malik urged people to come out and vote on the polling day when an election is held. “People in Mumbai are well educated but the voting turnout never crosses 40 per cent. And along with polling day, if they get weekend days, they will not be seen. I urge you to make them feel embarrassed. My experience in politics is if on the day of polling a party becomes successful in taking the voters to booths then it will definitely emerge victorious,” he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Secretary Parimal Rai praised Chief Electoral Officer Kunal and his team for successfully conducting free and fair 2017 state assembly election.

State Election Commissioner R K Srivastava explained the process of elections including the model code of conduct and urged the people of Goa to turn out in large numbers to vote during the forthcoming Zilla Panchayat election.

Kunal informed the gathering about the new directives of the Election Commission of India wherein senior citizens aged above 80 and persons with disabilities will now have an option to exercise their franchise using postal ballots during future elections. 

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