PANAJI: Goa Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari was the chief guest at the 11th National Voters Day celebrations held at Intitute Menezes Braganza Hall, Panaji on Monday.

The function was organised by Office of the Chief Electoral Office (CEO), Goa in association with the District Electoral Officer, North Goa. The function was attended by students, officials and persons from media. In the beginning National Anthem was played in which students of Goa College of Music participated and Voters Pledge was administered by Shri Gervasio Mendes.

The theme for NVD 2021 was “Making our Voters empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed”.

Message from Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sunil Arora on the occasion of 11th National Voters Day was screened.

Present on the occasion were State Election Commissioner Chokha Ram Garg, IAS; Chief Secretary Parimal Rai, IAS; Chief Electoral Officer, Goa, Kunal, IAS; North Goa Collector, R Meneka, IAS and Additional Chief Electoral Officer, Narayan Sawant.

The Governor while addressing the gathering congratulated new and young voters and urged them to show enthusiasm by casting their right of vote in every election and said that India is the largest democracy in the world. He said in last 70 years lot of good and positive changes happened in the voting system of the country.

Voters are awakened about value of the right to vote. Voter is the base of the constitution. Power is not in the hands of representatives who people choose but the real power is in the hands of the voters. Citizen will get the Government and the system which they deserve. Election commission and voters is the support system of the democracy. Every voter should vote keeping in the mind the making of the country, Koshyari said.

The voters are biggest stakeholders in the democracy and they should ensure that they cast their vote on merit and must see the programme and policies of the candidates and political parties without getting influenced by caste, creed or religion. The exercise of elections aims participation of all the citizens, which he said will help to strengthen the democracy, Koshyari said.

The Governor also said right of voting is a weapon to decide between right and wrong. On the day of voting, everyone is equal and such an important right has to be exercised with proper care. Appealing to the people to participate in large number to exercise their voting right, he stressed upon the need for voter education and appreciated the efforts of Election Commission of India in this regard.

Chief Secretary, Parimal Rai said voting process is the foundation on which whole constitution depends. Voting gives us the right to self rule. He said people should be aware, get them enrolled in the voters list, and maximum enrollment has to be the aim. We have to ensure that we respect the concept of universal adult franchise. He appealed to ensure that every voter exercise their voting right without fear and favour.

Rai appealed to ensure that no amount of pressure and influence deters voter from exercising their right which constitution and founders of the constitution have given them. He appreciated the efforts of election machinery in Goa. Accessibility for the voter is the latest reform in the recent election process, he said.

Country will become strong, democracy will become vibrant and will march forward, if every voter use their right to vote.  Everyone is collectively responsible to be a watch dog towards the free and fair elections, Raie remarked.

Kunal, in his welcome address welcomed all the dignitaries and explained in brief the activities of election machinery in the last one year. Election Commission of India is celebrating National Voters Day to motivate voters to take more participation specially the young voters in the democratic process of the country he said.

Kunal informed that in the recently published final electoral roll 17,259 voters have been added making total number of voters in Goa as 11,44,987. Goa has 1663 polling stations, he said. Use of technology is done in a big way and as per the election commission’s initiative the voter helpline mobile app is becoming a single source for availing all kind of services right from applying for addition of Voter Identity Card, deletion of the name or modification. E-Epic is the latest initiative by which voters can download their Epic card from the app or the website itself. E learning was the unique achievement of the Chief Electoral Office, Goa for this year, he said.

Best ERO, AERO, BLO awards and certificates for contribution to SWAYAM based MOOC e-learning course on “Democracy and Election Management in India” designed by office of The Chief Electoral Officer of Goa in collaboration with Department of Political Science, Goa University were given.

First time voters were also felicitated. Students of Goa Kala Academy’s College of Theatre Arts presented a street play. Siddhi Upadhey compared the programme and later, North Goa District Collector, Meneka proposed a vote of thanks.