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Right to reject makes democracy more vibrant, participative : Narendra Modi
The Gujarat Chief Minister and BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi welcome the Supreme Court of India's directive to the Election Commission of India to include negative voting by allowing the voters to reject all the candidates in an election.

Narendra Modi said that it will have a long lasting impact on our polity and will be a great step in the direction of further electoral reforms that can make our democracy even more vibrant and participative.

He said that since a very long time has has been calling for a provision for a right to reject in elections. Without it, he felt, there was something lacking in the system. Right now, if there are ten candidates contesting from a seat, we are compelling the voters to choose from those ten candidates. This judgment will empower the voters to express their anger and reject all of them. The voters can give a message that we do not like the candidate or the candidates’ party or the party policies, he added.

The BJP’s star campaigner said that this will give out a very strong message to political parties- parties will be forced to think why is it that people are not accepting them. It will make parties more responsible. Though many friends in some political parties are skeptical of having a Right to Reject in forthcoming elections, he said he is not surprised.

He recalled that the BJP has introduced a bill on compulsory voting, which even included the Right to Reject but Congress Party opposed it tooth and nail. The bill was passed twice, in 2008 and in 2009 but it was then withheld by the Governor.

According to Narendra Modi, compulsory voting too, has several advantages that can make our democracy stronger. It will even mitigate fears about elections becoming display of money power. Many citizens are disturbed by the large amounts of money being spent on elections. However, by bringing compulsory voting, mindless and extravagant expenditure on elections will not happen as the voter will anyway have to come to the polling booth and cast his or her franchise.

Stating that it is not that something is being snatched from the voters, he asked if compulsory schooling for children is advocated, can you say that we are denying a child his or her childhood?

However, he cautioned the people that while it is good to talk about Right to Reject and Compulsory Voting, this debate will be meaningless if you are not registered as voters!  He regretted that large number of youngsters who are 18 to 24 years old are not registered as voters. There is nothing more unfortunate than this.

Stating that the Election Commission has started a special drive across all states for enlisting voters, he asked all to make use of the drive and get registered as voters. It is equally true that many of our NRI friends who retain their India passports do not know that they can vote in elections. Thus, I even urge my NRI friends to check the Election Commission website and get registered as voters, he added.

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