Panaji: The basis of democracy is the right to differ, Goa Governor P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said on Tuesday January 25, adding that voters have given the political opposition an important role to play in India, by not allowing any ruling party to win more than 50 per cent of the total votes polled since 1952.
“The basis of democracy is the right to differ… I would like to say one aspect within my limited knowledge. In 1952 onwards in Parliament elections. More than 50 per cent of the total votes polled in favour of the government was not seen in our country,” Pillai said at a National Voters’ Day function here.
“(In) Indian parliamentary elections, since 1952, at no stage has the ruling party won more than 50 per cent of the total votes. According to my information, only in 1984, 49 per cent votes (were) polled in favour of the prime minister at that time. Even with a huge majority in Parliament, ruling parties have fallen below halfway mark,” he said.
“This can be interpreted to mean that the electorate in our country have given the opposition an equally important role to play. And our democracy is a rival-oriented political system,” he further said.
The Governor also said that it was the basic duty of politicians to educate the masses, but also endorsed the efforts of the Election Commission of India to lay emphasis on voter education programmes.
“People are supreme and they are the masters of the country and we will have to educate them. To what extent political parties are doing is a question mark, I do not want to go to that,” he said.
“The question is whether the obligations on part of the political parties are being fulfilled or not. The fact that the Election Commission of India is laying so much of emphasis on voter education programmes even today, indicates that we still have a long way to go to avail 100 (per cent voter education),” he said.