"Do exercise this power, and do exercise it responsibly. I hope all of you will use this opportunity and exercise the franchise every time in the most informed and ethical manner and go beyond narrow consideration," he said, referring to those, who just attained the age of 18 years and became eligible to vote. (Agencies)
Addressing the 4th National Voters' Day programme in the national capital to mark the establishment of the Election Commission, he urged the 81 crore plus voters of the country to exercise their franchise with pride in every election.
"It is your fundamental right, please exercise it through increased participation. Electoral process and democracy in India will continue to grow in strength and vibrancy," he said.
The President also underlined that people of the country have shown courage of voting in ‘overwhelming’ manner even in the face of threats and boycott calls by militant and Naxal groups.
"Whenever anti-social elements have asked people to boycott the electoral process, voters have responded by turning out in large numbers to exercise their franchise," he said.
He also patted the back of the thousands of election officers and personnel across the country for their crucial role in ‘reinforcing the bricks of Indian democracy’.
Pranab Mukherjee also said that several countries gained independence along with India after the end of World War II and adopted democracy and Parliamentary system, only a few could thrive on the system.
He recalled that several countries either became dictatorships or were ruled by military juntas.
India, he said, despite its set of problems including poverty, was able to strengthen its democracy.
Describing the voter as a "central actor" in a democratic process, the President said representative bodies embody the hopes and aspirations of the people while at the same time also serving as a platform to echo their grievances.
It is in these bodies that the people repose their faith to advance their common agenda of growth and social advancement.
Pranab Mukherjee further said that while their responsiveness to public needs is assessed by the people on a continual basis, they are called to account through the medium of elections.
He stated that it is only by the conduct of free, fair and participative elections that our democracy has become in many ways, the most vibrant in the world.
Earlier, Chief Election Commissioner VS Sampath had called upon the corporate sector to contribute in voter education and awareness and include such task as part of their corporate social responsibility.
The CEC said that the poll body looks forward to more synergy in future in advancing greater participation of people in the electoral process and the process of participative elections has to be a national mission.
"Do exercise this power, and do exercise it responsibly. I hope all of you will use this opportunity and exercise the franchise every time in the most informed and ethical manner and go beyond narrow consideration," he said, referring to those, who just attained the age of 18 years and became eligible to vote.