Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Tuesday narrated to an international audience the story of elections in India, the world's largest democracy, detailing how the panel held polls amid Covid.
The Election Commission, in association with the High Commission of India, Pretoria, Consulate General of India, Johannesburg and Electoral Commission of South Africa, participated in an international virtual seminar on Story of World's Largest Democracy’s Election in India.
The webinar was attended by over 50 participants from the Indian diaspora, academicians and students from different universities in South Africa, the poll panel said in a statement.
In his keynote address, Chandra said that conducting elections in India is a mammoth task with over 9.37 billion registered electors in the country as of now. He noted that the Election Commission sets up polling booths within walking distance of every village, hamlet and habitation with the aim of "no voter to be left behind".
While sharing the experience of conducting elections in six states amid the Covid-19 pandemic, Chandra mentioned several initiatives adopted to ensure smooth elections despite the challenges.
He highlighted steps like curtailing the maximum number of voters at a polling station from 1,500 to 1,000 and extending polling hours by an hour to decongest polling spaces, postal ballot facility for senior citizens older than 80 years, people with disabilities and Covid-affected individuals, where EC literally brought the polling station to their doorstep.
Chandra also gave an insight into the participation of women in Indian elections, which has seen a remarkable increase over the years.
Election Commission's Secretary General Umesh Sinha gave an overview of the different facets of election management to ensure inclusive, participative, and accessible elections.
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