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Citing importance of free and fair elections, President Pranab Mukherjee today said it is important to create a conducive atmosphere to enable people to exercise their voting rights without fear or favour and see that the outcome of elections is not vitiated. He was speaking to the heads of election management bodies and international electoral institutions of different countries attending the 'International Conference on Voter Education for Inclusive, Informed and Ethical Participation'. Addressing the delegates, the President quoted Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, co-founder of erstwhile Czechoslovakia and said "Democracy is the political form of humanity". He said that the heads of election management bodies present there were custodians of democracy and therefore of humanity.
Mukherjee said that democracy would succeed through their responsibility of discharging free and fair elections as per the Constitution of the country concerned. The President said that after India became independent and was transformed into a Republic, there were many doubting voices with regard to success of adult suffrage in the country. However, the Election Commission of India, which has an important role in our democracy, has been delivering the citizens well managed elections in a country with a vast area and a huge population. The country has seen consistent rise in voters' participation in successive elections. The General Elections to the lower house of Indian Parliament in 2014 recorded a historic turn out, the President said. Mukherjee said that he was happy that the voters also chose a stable political regime by electing a single majority government. The President said that the basic objective of democracy is to have an electorate which is informed and constantly engaged with the affairs of the State. "It is important to create a conducive atmosphere to enable people to exercise their voting rights without fear or favour and see that the outcome of elections is not vitiated. "Voters must be educated to exercise their right to vote with full responsibility and seriousness," he was quoted as having said in a press release issued by Rashtrapati Bhavan. He told the delegates that being experts in their field it was for them to decide how successful elections were to be implemented. Mukherjee hoped that the deliberations at the conference would lead to better voters' education and increased voters' participation.
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