Ranchi, Feb. 1: Governor Syed Ahmed today stressed on maximum voting and pushed for uniform election norms across India in his inaugural address at the 18th All India State Election Commissioners' Conference in Ranchi before stalwarts such as India's chief election commissioner V.S. Sampath.
"No voter should be denied his right just because his name has wrongly been spelt. Utmost care should be taken while preparing the list," he said, addressing Sampath, election commissioners of 21 states and others in the audience.
On variable electoral norms, Ahmed minced no words. "Legislation for polls in village panchayats and municipal bodies vary from state to state. Procedures and practices adopted during polls are different across states, leaving significant scope for improvement," said the executive head of the state under President's Rule.
Welcoming Sampath, he added: "It is heartening to see that the chief election commissioner of India has joined us to address important issues like voters' education, common electoral rolls and reforms."
Sampath, on his part, expressed concern over the use of money and muscle power during elections and said candidates with criminal records were setting a disturbing trend in Indian democracy.
"We need to make elections more transparent. Loopholes in election procedure across developing nations are being discussed the world over. In developed countries, the bureaucracy conducts elections. Here, we have an autonomous body, the Election Commission. We have bigger responsibilities to shoulder," he added.
Talks ranged from voter awareness to online voting as election commissioners shared experiences and anecdotes to sound out new challenges and solutions. Jharkhand also made detailed presentations on Model Panchayat Act, which was discussed extensively.
It was agreed in principle that voters' list during Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls should used during panchayat and municipal elections.
Jharkhand state election commissioner S.D. Sharma, who said this was practised in Jharkhand, added: "We will ask Census Survey of India to give us updated figures for smooth revision of voters' list."