Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021 08:15 [IST]
Last Update: Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021 02:34 [IST]
GANGTOK,: Sikkim celebrated the 11th National Voters Day today with the theme ‘Making our voters empowered, vigilant, safe and informed’.
The theme for this year’s National Voters Day envisages active and participative voters during elections. It also focuses on Election Commission of India's commitment towards conducting elections safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The State-level National Voters Day celebration was held at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Sikkim, at Balwakhani here. The celebration was chaired by Chief Electoral Officer R. Telang and had the presence of Roll Observer of Sikkim, Anil Raj Rai, as the special guest.
Addressing the programme, CEO R. Telang stressed on the purpose and importance of National Voters Day. He remarked that democracy cannot exist in the truest sense if there is no mechanism for conducting free and fair elections.
Addressing the young voters, Telang said, “Participation in electoral process is necessary to bring the desired change.” He informed that the Election Commission of India is a premier institution which has set standards the world over for conducting elections and expressed pride in being associated with the electoral process in the country.
Telang cited the example of the recently-conducted Bihar elections at the peak of the pandemic to portray the effectiveness of the ECI. He also highlighted the ‘Reaching the Unreached’ campaign initiated by the office of the CEO Sikkim wherein child care institutions, old age homes, Sikkim Spastic Society and detoxification centres in and around Sikkim were sensitized about the electoral process. He also thanked the Roll Observer for placing forth his suggestions for improvement and assured to work towards addressing those.
The CEO also informed that during the 2019 elections, the State steering committee had put forth the suggestion to the ECI for allowing postal ballots for the differently-abled and that this suggestion has become a reality today. Along with the differently-abled voters, voters above the age of 80 would also be entitled to cast their votes through postal ballots as per their preference, he added.
Furthermore, Telang emphasised on facilitating training to BLOs, AEROs and EROs.
Roll Observer Anil Raj Rai, in his address, remarked that the main purposes of all these initiatives are to facilitate the voting process. He said this day is meaningfully utilised all over the country and in Sikkim as well.
The Roll Observer shared his observations from being associated with the election process and having toured the whole state for the past few years. He put forth suggestions in regards to data compilation and maintenance amongst others. He lauded the efforts of the booth level officers while also highlighting the need for strengthening and up gradation of their skills. He conveyed his best wishes to all for being a significant part of the electoral process.
As has been the custom, the National Voters Day saw the handing out of various awards and felicitations.
The BLO award was presented to Ram Prasad Subedi from west district, Som Bahadur Rai from south district, Karma Lepcha from east district and Tenzing Lepcha from north district.
Special awards were also handed out to staff of the Election department from all four districts for their selfless efforts and dedication towards the electoral process. The recipients are John Bhutia, Kaden Bhutia, Titus Rai, Ujjwal Pradhan and Rinchen Bhutia.
Likewise, new voters enrolled under ‘Reaching the Unreached’ campaign were felicitated on the occasion.
During the programme, EPIC cards were handed out to three new voters from Balika Niketan, four from Freedom Detox Centre, two from Spastic Society and nine new voters from three Assembly constituencies.
The function was attended by functionaries of the electoral process at all levels, members of the State steering committee, new registered voters and officials and staff of the State Election department.
Earlier, in her welcome address, joint CEO Pema Lhaden Lama briefed the gathering on National Voters Day and its objective. She highlighted the functions and tasks of the Election Commission of India and mentioned that the National Voters Day is being observed at 10 lakh locations pan-India.
The message of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, Sunil Arora was also broadcasted on the occasion, wherein he conveyed his regards to the voters of India. In his message, the CEC spoke about how each and every vote counts and that this day stands for the rights and responsibility of every voter in the country.