‘Non-voters should be punished in India’

Advani points out compulsory voting from Italy, Australia

AHMEDABAD – India’s former deputy prime minister and Bhartiya Janata Party leader LK Advani batted for introduction of compulsory voting in India and said those failing to exercise their right to franchise should be barred from voting in future, the Indian media reported on Sunday.

“I have seen elections from 1952. I have also studied election processes of other countries. I had recommended that compulsory voting should be introduced in India,” the Press Trust of India news service quoted Advani as saying while addressing a gathering.

The Supreme Court of India also said that there should be compulsory voting in the country. Advani said that the compulsory voting was practiced in countries like Italy and Australia. “Not only compulsory voting, there should also be some punishment for those who do not vote,” the veteran BJP leader said.

“In some countries, there is a fine, but in India there are many poor people. So I had suggested that those who do not vote should be barred from voting in future,” the BJP leader said. He said that Gujarat was the only state which has passed the Bill on compulsory voting in local body elections, though it cannot be implemented since it was not signed by the Gujarat governor.

“I hope that the new government will look into the issue of compulsory voting,” Advani said. As part of electoral reforms, candidates should be given election grants to curb poll expenses in India. “Earlier elections were fought with very less amounts of money, but nowadays one cannot imagine the amount spent on elections. To curb this, grants should be given to candidates,” Advani said.

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