Petty fine for not voting shows BJP isn’t serious and this is just a gimmick: Congress

Saturday, 8 August,Ahmedabad : Gujarat Congress on Saturday said the provision of a meagre Rs 100 fine for failing to vote in the local body polls showed that the BJP government’s compulsory voting law was nothing but “a gimmick”.

“Imposition of just Rs 100 fine for not exercising the franchise proves that BJP is not serious about electoral reforms but only believes in gimmicks and headline-grabbing,” Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said. The government last week announced rules under the act which makes voting compulsory in local body polls. Apart from the fine, there won’t be any penal action.

“If the government was serious about electoral reforms, it should have framed the rules at the time of introducing the bill in which it had announced that there will be penal action against those who fail to vote,” Doshi said.

“We are against the concept of compulsory voting because it is against the basic tenets of democracy,” he clarified.

“The BJP government wants to make voter accountable, but it itself is not accountable….It has failed to provide basis things like water, good education, healthcare to people. It should come out with a white-paper on what it has done to cater to the basic needs of people,” the Congress leader said.

Governor O P Kohli gave assent to the controversial Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2009, which makes voting compulsory, last November. It came into effect last month. Elections to 253 municipalities, 208 taluka panchayats, 26 district panchayats and six municipal corporations in the state are expected to be held in this October.