President to inaugurate poll panel’s diamond jubilee function


New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil will inaugurate the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Election Commission of India (ECI) Jan 25 at a function here to be attended by top political leaders of the country besides heads of electoral bodies from over 30 countries.

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The inaugural function will be attended by Vice President Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar besides ministers and leaders from the opposition. The President will also release a commemorative stamp on the occasion.

“Leaders of all national and state political parties, former chief election commissioners and diplomats have been invited for the function,” the poll panel’s Director General Akshay Rout told reporters here.

He said a 250-page book titled “Reinforcing Indian Democracy-Lok Sabha Election 2009” – a descriptive presentation of the massive electoral exercise done for constituting the 15th Lok Sabha – will be released by the vice president on the occasion.

The president will also view a photo exhibition on 60 years of the Election Commission.

The Election Commission is holding an international symposium “Sharing the Best Electoral Practices” Jan 27 to exchange experience and expertise in election management.

Heads of poll bodies from 30 countries including the United States, Russia, Canada, Brazil, Nigeria, Venezuala, Japan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and Pakistan have confirmed their participation, he added

Rout said many foreign delegations, including that from the Commonwealth, had requested bilateral meetings with the Election Commission. “These meetings will take place Jan 28,” he said.

The theme for the diamond jubilee year is “Greater Participation for a Stronger Democracy”, Rout said, adding that there would be year-long events covering areas such as improvement in electors’ registration and expanding coverage of photo-identity cards.

The office of the Election Commission was set up Jan 25, 1950. The rest of the Constitution came into force a day later – on Jan 26, 1950.