Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K.Advani said voting should be made compulsory and suggested simultaneous conduct of Lok Sabha and assemblies elections in order to strengthen democracy in the country.
"I am of the opinion that voting must be made compulsory and I hope that the Election Commission of India would look into it", he said while delivering the key note address on electoral reform under Deen Dayal Upadyay lecture series. Advani said "if we analyse the voting trend, we see voting per centage of literate people is very lower than the illeterate people. Literate and high-class people just criticize political parties, corruption, ill practices but when it comes to voting, most of them do not poll. So, how one can expect a healty democracy?" Driving home the point of simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls, he said "after first four general elections, timing of state assemblies elections delinked from the Lok Sabha elections and the result of all such delinking is that almost every alternate year, there is a general election to the Lok Sabha or a mini-general election to one or more assemblies".
"This is not good either for the polity or for the administration. The only solution to the problem is let the Lok Sabha and state assemblies have a fixed five-year term and as it prevalent in several major democracies of the world like the US," he said. "Let the election dates for general elections to the Lok Sabha and state assemblies be broadly fixed. This would also ensure that Lok Sabha and assembly elections are always held simultaneously," Advani said, adding he has also discussed the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He said curbing the influence of money power in elections was badly needed to strengthen democracy. "Electoral reform has to be a continuing process to strengthen democracy. Our country has undertaken many reforms but a lot still needs to be done, more particularly with regard to curbing the influence of money power," he said. Advani also advoated voting rights to NRIs. "The dependability of EVMs has been questioned and its use has been objected to many a times but my only demand is to make the system more transparent. "My demand is to replace the current EVM machines with EVM's paper trail so that voters can ensure that the computer/machine has entered the name correctly which he/she has selected while voting," he said.