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Gujarat Becomes First State to Make Voting Compulsory/Mandatory in Local Elections

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Gujarat state became the first state of India to make voting Compulsory or mandatory in the local elections. Gujarat state Government put out notification about compulsory voting on 27 July 2015, Monday.

Gujarat Government also reserved 50 per cent seats for women in municipal corporations, municipalities, and village panchayats and declared it on 17 July 2015. Gujarat State Governor O P Kohli gives his nod to the compulsory voting in local body polls.

With the government notifying the Gujarat Local Authorities Act (Amendment) 2009, a voter in the state would now invite disciplinary action in case he or she fails to vote in the local body elections without any acceptable reason.

The local body polls in the state are likely to be held in September and October. However, the latest notification from State Government has not specified what punishment would be meted out those who fail to exercise their franchise.

The BJP government of Gujarat State had to wait for five years for getting the Bill cleared from the Governor’s office. Introduced first in 2009, the Bill was cleared by the Governor only in November 2014. The Compulsory Voting in Local elections Bill that was earlier passed twice with a majority vote by the Gujarat government, then led by Narendra Modi, had faced hard resistance from former Governor Kamla Beniwal in 2010 and 2011 on the bases that forcing people to vote violates Article 21 of the Constitution

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