President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said it was important to respect the right to vote, which was something that people around the world had struggled to achieve.
While addressing the Election Commission of India’s National Voters Day celebrations virtually, Mr. Kovind said “he would like to remind that we should always respect the valuable right to vote. The right to vote is not a simple right; people around the world have struggled a lot for this”, a Rashtrapati Bhavan statement said.
Mr. Kovind said it was the responsibility of all, particularly the youth, to exercise their franchise with sincerity.
Earlier in the event, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad handed out Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) and the digital versions, e-EPICs, to a handful of newly-enrolled electors.
The digital voter ID cards would be available for download by all electors with valid EPIC numbers from February 1, while newly-enrolled electors who applied for EPICs in November and December, 2020, would be able to download their digital cards from Monday.
Mr. Prasad said ordinary Indians knew that they could unseat any political party or leader, no matter how popular they were.
During the event, where Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar also addressed the gathering, the ECI gave out awards to officials and civil society members for their contribution towards holding elections.
Among those awarded were late IPS officer Binod Kumar, who passed away due to COVID-19 that he contracted during his review of election preparations in Purnea district in Bihar, the state of Delhi for accessible elections and Bihar for election management.