Dear Editor, B. R. Ambedkar was born on 14 April 1891. This year his birthday brought a special message. The message told every adult Indian citizen to vote as his birthday in this year was timed to coincide with the parliamentary election. Indeed, the people’s aspiration through ballot and peaceful movements make some countries score high in human development and become truly welfare states. For example, the people of Nordic countries make their government take an amalgamated path of socialist equality and capitalist liberty and become happy and human developed countries. They have achieved it in a peaceful and democratic process. I have a great admiration for B. R. Ambedkar for his efforts for giving us Universal Adult Suffrage. India has a democratic set up with all citizens having equal rights. The Article 326 of the Indian Constitution says, “The elections to the House of the People and to the Legislative Assembly of every State shall be on the basis of adult suffrage…” Every person who is a citizen of India and who is not less than 18 years of age is entitled to get registered as a voter if not otherwise disqualified by law on the ground of “non-residence, unsoundness of mind, crime or corrupt or illegal practice”. In 1928, Dr B.R. Ambedkar appeared before the Simon Commission and insisted on incorporating universal adult franchise in the Constitution of India. He said that vote was “a weapon in the hands of the most oppressed sections of society”. The Indian National Congress took a stand in favour of political equality at the 1931 Karachi session. India has made a great stride towards democracy and political equality by accepting the modern concept of giving equal value for every vote. Election is the most peaceful way to change. We need to vote after thinking about who should be our representatives in the Parliament for the next five years. Come rain or shine, vote we must because vote is “a weapon in the hands of the most oppressed sections of society.” Sujit De, Kolkata.
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