New Delhi: Hailing the Supreme Court verdict allowing negative voting, BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi has said that it is a step towards future electoral reforms to make Indian democracy more vibrant and meaningful.

Read more: Supreme Court grants voters Right to Reject

"I wholeheartedly welcome this. I am sure it will have a long-lasting impact on our polity and will be a great step in the direction of further electoral reforms that can make our democracy even more vibrant and participative," Modi said on his blog on Friday. The Gujarat Chief Minister added that he supports the provision of right to reject in elections, as there is something lacking in the system without it.

"This judgement will empower voters to express their anger and reject all of them (candidates). Voters can give a message that we do not like the candidate or the candidates' party or the party's policies. This will give out a very strong message to political parties. Parties will be forced to think why people are not accepting them. It will make parties more responsible," he said.

Modi said that he is not surprised at the scepticism aired by some parties on the ‘Right to Reject’ concept and said that a bill on compulsory voting which included the said right was brought in the Gujarat Assembly which, after stiff opposition from Congress was passed although the Governor has not cleared it.

Batting for compulsory voting, Modi said that it can make the democratic set-up stronger and will help to curb the use of money power during elections. "It will even mitigate fears about elections becoming display of money power. By bringing compulsory voting, mindless and extravagant expenditure on elections will not happen as the voter will anyway have to come to the polling booth and cast his or her franchise," the Gujarat CM said.

Exhorting the public to get themselves registered as voters and come out to exercise their franchise, Modi said, "While it is good to talk about the Right to Reject and Compulsory Voting, this debate will be meaningless if you are not registered as voters!"

Modi sought to allay fears that features like Right to Reject and Compulsory Voting would violate the Right to Expression. "I would say it is adding completeness to the opportunity for expression. Right now, you are getting only half the right of expression that of selecting the person or party. In future, you will get a complete right of expression of even rejecting the candidates," Modi said.

He said that there is nothing which is being snatched away from the voters. Invoking Mahatma Gandhi on the question of fundamental rights, Modi said that more important than fundamental rights are fundamental duties. "When we do our duties properly, the rights will be automatically safeguarded and if we do our duties properly, our democracy will be safeguarded," he said.

Modi also exhorted the youth and NRIs to get themselves registered as voters. "Democracy can only be strengthened by all of us! As voters, we are the 'Bhagya Vidhatas' of our nation. What Supreme Court said today is a wonderful step but it is now for us to come together, put it into practice and strengthen our democracy so that our nation can shine in the years to come!" he said.


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