New Delhi, Sept. 27: Political parties today cautiously welcomed the Supreme Court order on negative voting but Narendra Modi was upfront in his support and slipped in a demand of his own.
He said voting should be made compulsory to make democracy “vibrant and participative”.
The two words were straight out of the judgment but the court was talking about empowering voters by giving them a wider choice, not forcing them to vote.
Modi, however, brushed aside any fears that compulsory voting would violate the freedom of expression — on the logic that compulsory schooling didn’t violate children’s rights.
“It is not that something is being snatched from the voters. If compulsory schooling for children is advocated, can you say that we are denying a child his or her childhood,” he wrote in his blog.
“I whole-heartedly welcome this (judgment). I am sure 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.”.
Modi’s government had passed a bill making voting compulsory and allowing negative voting but the governor has stalled it.
Most parties said the verdict was good but needed to be studied before they could give a detailed response.
The CPM, though, termed the order “piecemeal” and called for “comprehensive electoral reforms” by Parliament.
“The Supreme Court judgment to include a ‘no vote’ on the ballot is only a minor aspect of the issue of reforms,” a politburo statement said.
“These matters are being dealt with in a piecemeal way by the judiciary when what is required is comprehensive electoral reforms, including the issue of proportional representation, (and) urgent steps to curb money and muscle power, which must be discussed and adopted by Parliament.”