Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s differences with his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi on compulsory voting in local body polls have divided the state BJP.
On Sunday, Chouhan had said in Delhi that compulsory voting was impractical. Instead, he propagated conscientious politicians and awareness drives to inspire people to exercise their franchise.
However, some of Chouhan’s party colleagues, including ministers, see merit in Modi’s initiative.
Public Health Engineering Minister Guaurishankar Bisen said compulsory voting would strengthen democracy. Former state BJP media-in-charge Vijesh Lunawat also endorsed Modi’s move. “It’s wrong that a candidate with just 20 or 30 per cent votes becomes a public representative to decide the fate of 100 per cent people.”
Lunawat also favours other political reforms such as online voting and an option to vote on a later day if one fails to cast one’s vote on the day of polling.
Former Union Minister Vikram Verma said: “The low turnout of voters is a matter of concern. Modi has initiated a debate on the subject and something good will come out of it.”
Madhya Pradesh Laghu Udyog Nigam Limited chairman Vipin Dixit said the move would put pressure on public representatives. “It’s wrong not to vote just because we don’t like the candidate.”