Two days after it cleared — with riders — the airing of the radio programme “Mann Ki Baat”, the Election Commission on Sunday found a prominent mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly broadcast. The Prime Minister said the poll panel had evolved from a “regulator” to a “facilitator” and congratulated it for increase in voter turnouts.
In the 12th edition of the radio show, the Prime Minister said, “Till a few years ago, we used to see that our Election Commission is working just as a regulator. But it has undergone a significant change in the past few years. Today, our EC is not a mere regulator anymore. It has instead become a facilitator, is more voter-friendly and voters are now at the centre of all its plans and thoughts. This is a welcome change.”
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Modi’s remarks were in response to an audio message from one Bhargavi Kanade, who requested him to increase awareness about voter registration. “But only the Election Commission working on this would not suffice. We need to have an atmosphere of awareness in schools, colleges and neighbourhoods. It should not be so that this awareness comes only when elections come,” Modi said.
Following a complaint by opposition parties seeking suspension of the radio show till completion of the Bihar elections, saying that the use the “official mass media” will give the BJP an “unfair advantage”, the Election Commission had on Friday said that it had “no objection” to the airing of the programme provided nothing is said in it that may be construed as inducement to voters.
Modi said that the voters’ list should be constantly updated and citizens should keep an eye on that. “I have got an invaluable right… whether my right is secure or not… whether I am using or not using that right… we need to develop this habit,” he said. He said that he hoped the country’s youth, who still have not enrolled as voters, will do so and vote in future.
He said that as many as 55,000 calls had been received after he asked people to phone-in with their suggestions.