High turn-out linked to political maturity
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, February 15: The trend of high voter turn outs in the ongoing election is being attributed to political maturity and a testimony of the democratic mindset of the people as such a system has been in vogue since the time Manipur was a princely State.

As many functionaries of political parties pointed out India went for its maiden general election in 1951, four years later than the election held in the then princely State of Manipur.

The people experienced the democratic process of election after inaugurating its first ever elected Manipur State Assembly on October 18, 1948 by the then Maharaja.

In line with the deep rooted sense of democracy, inherited from the past, the people of Manipur are more conscious of the electioneering system as was apparent by the large turn out of voters in past few elections as well as favourable response from the electorates to the current the 9th Manipur Legislative assembly election.

Despite sporadic violent incidents and incessant rains, the voters� turn out in the first and second phase polling hovered near the 90 percent mark.

The third and last phase is slated for February 23. Polling percent in the previous general elections held in 2002 was 90.09 while the preceding ones also recorded similar figures.

Leaders of various political parties asserted that high poll percentage reflected over the years testify that the people are conscious of their democratic rights.

CPI�s Manipur state council secretary B Sharma said people have faith in democratic norms and they also want to strengthen democracy.

The healthy trend of exercising their democratic rights is highly appreciable.

On contributory factors for the large turn out, Sharma said the people under the Manipur Constitution Act, 1947 had already exercised their franchise rights way back in 1948 before it merged with the Indian Union while the nation went to the polls for the first time in 1951. �It shows that the lineage of this democratic trend still exists,� he mooted.

Manipur�s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) RR Rashmi said the massive turn out of electorates is a good indication of the people�s participation in the electoral process and an apparent vision that they are having a good democratic mindset.

�We should welcome this high level of people�s participation�.

Seram Mangi, chairman of Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee�s media cell said one of the main reasons for the mammoth turn out of voters is the effective campaign launched by the political parties.

�The voting spirit is so high.

This is also a good reflection that people are politically aware of the democratic institution�.

numerous elderly voters who make up substantial number of voters also conveyed deep enthusiasm in exercising their franchise rights as could be summed up by comment of one 55 year old Nepram Menjor of Thongju Part-II.

�I never missed voting ever since I attained the right age.

Yesterday I with an umbrella tracked down to our polling station and exercised my franchise,� he said.