Election Commission Set to Celebrate Diamond Jubilee

New Delhi
Election Commission Set to Celebrate Diamond Jubilee
A galaxy of national leaders across the political spectrum will be present at a function here to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of the Election Commission on Monday.

"I think it is seldom such a galaxy of national leadership, distinguished guests, heads of electoral bodies across the globe and foreign envoys would be present on a single occasion," Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla told PTI.

President Pratibha Patil will inaugurate the two-day celebrations in which she would release a commemorative stamp and a book "Reinforcing Indian Democracy - Lok Sabha Elections 2009".

Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Leader of Opposition Sushma Swaraj and Congress President Sonia Gandhi, senior BJP leaders L K Advani and Nitin Gadkari would be present.

Besides, Chawla said, leaders of other national parties and state parties including CPI(M) leaders Prakash Karat and Sitaram Yechury, CPI leaders A B Bardhan and D Raja, UP Chief Minister Mayawati, AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal have also been invited.

Recalling that the Commission started its work a day before the commencement of the Constitution in 1952, Chawla said the Commission was not only a creature of the Constitution but also got its initial staff from the Constituent Assembly.

Chawla said in the last 60 years there has been a traditional continuity of good practices followed in the Commission and wanted them to be continued.

He said of the 714 million voters, 82 per cent has been covered in the distribution of Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC). "We hope in the next two years, we will be able to cover the whole country", he said.

"I think we are satisfied to great extent that the forethoughts of our founding fathers has been considerably achieved," the CEC said.

He said heads of electoral bodies from 40 countries and 80 envoys have already accepted the invitation. "We are overwhelmed with the positive response", he said.

The Commission would also organise an international symposium on "Sharing Best Electoral Practices" on January 27, Chawla said.

"The overwhelming response from the world's democratic nations to the occasion is seen as recognition of India's democratic traditions and practices", the CEC added.
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