Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections due this summer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Sunday said casting vote is a sacred duty and those who do not use the democratic right should feel the "pain" of not exercising their franchise.
In his monthly 'Mann ki Baat' radio address, he also hailed the role of the Election Commission for its "meticulous organising abilities
" in holding polls.
He pointed out that those born in the 21st century will cast their vote for the first time in the Lok Sabha polls.
"They face the opportunity to shoulder responsibilities pertaining to the country. They have embarked upon the journey of being partners in nation building. The time has come for a confluence of individual dreams and the nation's dream," he said.
He urged the youth to register themselves as voters, if they are eligible.
"All of us must realise that being a voter, earning the right to vote is an important rite of passage in one's life, it's one of its achievements. Simultaneously, the sentiment that voting is our sacred duty, should grow within us naturally. For any reason, if one is not able to vote, it should pain one," he said.
He said those who are unable to vote should feel saddened to witness any wrong taking place in the country. "I had not cast my vote ... that day I did not go and vote ... and as a result, my country has borne the brunt," he said explaining the feeling.
The prime minister said, people have to realise the importance of this responsibility. "This must be our leaning; this should be our disposition. This inclination should be ingrained within us like a sanskaar (encultration)," he said.
He urged eminent personalities to come forward and jointly contribute in campaigning for spreading awareness on voter registration and casting vote.
"I sincerely hope that large number of eligible young people will get themselves registered as voters, thus forging a partnership in the quest to further strengthen our democracy," he said.
Modi pointed out that on January 25, 1950, the Election Commission came into being, a day before India became a republic.
He said, the scale at which elections are held in India is a matter of great awe for the world. He also said it is natural for every citizen to feel proud of the Election Commission and its meticulous organising abilities.
He said the country leaves no stone unturned to ensure that every citizen of India who is a registered voter, rightfully avails of the opportunity to cast his vote.
Modi highlighted how polling personnel fan out to remotest corners to enable voters exercise their franchise.
"These facts are bound to instil a sense of pride, of the commitment of the Election Commission. Caring for that lone voter, for ensuring that he or she enjoys full opportunity to exercise the right to vote ... this is the beauty of our democracy," he said.
He appreciated the Election Commission for "relentlessly" striving to ensure the strengthening of democracy.
"I hold in high esteem, the Election Commissions of all states, security personnel and other staff members who contribute in ensuring strict adherence to free and fair polling," he said.
Referring to recent Khelo India games, he said only when the local ecosystem or the base of sports will be strong, then only youth will be able to perform their best.
"The building of new India does not only involve contribution from the denizens of big cities but also from the youth, children, young sports talents, hailing from small cities, towns and villages," he said.
Referring to youth and space technology, the PM said, India's space programme has been possible due to innumerable young scientists of the country.
He pointed out that satellites developed by students and sounding rockets have reached space.
"On January 24 'Kalam Sat' fashioned by our students had been launched. The Sounding Rockets made by Odisha university students have also created many records. The number of successful space missions attempted since the country's independence till 2014 have been equal to those successfully completed in the past four years," he said.
He also urged people to pay tributes to martyrs on January 30, the death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
He also referred to Ravidas jayanti on February 19 recalling his words that man has been divided into castes and the human in him has disappeared.
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