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LS Elections 2029 To Conclude Before Summer? CEC Shares His ‘Biggest Learning’ From 2024 Polls

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Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar underscored the need to complete the election process before the onset of summer in response to reports of multiple polling staff succumbing to extreme heat. On March 31 alone, India reported at least 40 suspected heat-related deaths, including 25 staff members on Lok Sabha poll duty in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Addressing a press conference on Monday, a day ahead of vote counting, CEC Kumar announced that India had set a global record with the highest voter turnout. “We have created a world record of 642 million voters. This is a historic moment for all of us. This is 1.5 times the voters of all G7 countries and 2.5 times voters of 27 countries in the European Union (EU). We thank each and every one who took part in this festival of democracy. The Indian elections are indeed a miracle, having no parallel in the world,” he said.

Highlighting the participation of women in the General Elections 2024, Kumar noted, “312 million women voters cast their votes, which is 1.25 times the women voters of 27 EU countries in their last national election. This reflects the ECI’s commitment to inclusive elections.”

Kumar also praised the contributions of elderly voters. “The contribution of voters aged 85 and above is inspiring for our younger generation; they are the heroes of our democracy. They have witnessed India before independence and have shaped this country with their contributions over the past 70 years,” he remarked.

The CEC commended the meticulous work of election personnel, which resulted in a significant reduction in the number of repolls. “We saw 39 repolls in Lok Sabha polls 2024 as opposed to 540 in 2019, with 25 out of 39 repolls in just two states,” he stated.

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CEC Kumar Responds To ‘Laapata Gentlemen’ Criticism On Social Media

Kumar also responded to social media criticism, particularly memes describing the Election Commission as ‘laapata gentlemen’ (missing gentlemen). He asserted, “We were never out, we were always here. We chose to interact with you through our press notes. This was the first time we issued close to 100 press notes and advisories.”

Reflecting on the unsung heroes of the elections, the polling personnel, Kumar recited a couplet: “While people talk of flowers, no one remembers the gardener.” He added, “Victory or defeat are part of democracy, but no one talks about you—the polling and security personnel—who ensured flawless polls in summer heat.”

The Chief Election Commissioner concluded by reiterating the need to rethink the timing of future elections to protect the health and safety of all involved.

ECI Will Start Process Of Assembly Elections In Jammu & Kashmir Very Soon: CEC Rajiv Kumar

Special recognition was given to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for their unprecedented voter turnout, the highest in four decades. He said that the ECI will start the process of holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir very soon. “We will very soon start the process of Assembly elections in Jammu & Kashmir.”

Kumar also noted the presence of a large global delegation, with 75 observers from 23 countries, who were impressed by India’s electoral process.

Emphasising the Election Commission’s efforts to ensure free and fair elections, Kumar said, “We identified, confronted, and tackled Muscle, Money, Misinformation, and MCC Violations—impediments to free, fair, and transparent elections.”

One of the notable achievements of this election was the absence of violence. “This is one of the General Elections where we have not seen violence. This required two years of preparation,” he said. Kumar also highlighted the record seizure of almost Rs 10,000 crores during the election, nearly three times the value seized in 2019, crediting empowered local teams for this accomplishment.

Detailing the counting process, Kumar assured that it is “absolutely robust” and operates with clockwork precision. The press conference, attended by Election Commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, addressed various concerns and defended the Commission’s conduct.

 

*Sources: NDTV, CEC Press Conference*





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