Gandhinagar : The voting is mandatory now. The Gujarat govt inked the order for compulsory voting. It is official now. After dithering for long, the Gujarat government issued a notification making voting in local body elections compulsory under the controversial Gujarat Local Authorities Laws (Amendment), Act 2009 (2014).
The notification dated July 17, 2015 will apply to over three crore voters who are expected to cast their franchise in the upcoming civic elections in six municipal corprations, around 60 municipalities, 33 district panchayats and more than 150 taluka panchayats. State has recorded 45-50 per cent voting in local bodies elections in the past. In 2010, six municipals corporations had recorded average voting of 44 per cent.
Following this notification, any citizen abstaining from voting in civic elections will be penalized — the punishment could be monetary fine or non-eligibility for certain civic incentives — which will be specified once the rules are framed, officials said.
Along with the compulsory voting notification, state government has also issued an ordinance for the addition of a clause the act for declaring the elected representatives disqualified if they do not vote.
“It will be duty of a citizen to vote in the local bodies elections. However, every citizen has the freedom to vote in favour of none of candidates contesting elections by pressing None Of The Above (NOTA) option.”
In case of failure in voting the registered voter will be declared as the defaulter and against whom the designated authorities will take legal action as prescribed in the rules which will be declared shortly.