Managing an election for 937 million voters

1 December 2021

With gratitude to the icons of freedom and the heroes of democracy, High Commissioner Jaideep Sarkar of India to South Africa opened a discussion on the “Story of World’s Largest Democracy’s Election”. At the hybrid event hosted by the Indian High Commission and the Indian Consulate in Johannesburg, the presentations by Shri Sushil Chandra, Chief Election Commissioner of India (ECI) and Shri Umesh Sinha, Secretary General, ECI, would have left many in awe of the extraordinary efforts of the ECI in delivering an election for its 937 million registered voters.

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (twitter)

The event was held as a commemoration of the adoption of the Indian Constitution on 26th November 1949. It is also a day that pays tribute to Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar who served as the Chairperson of the drafting committee. He received various doctorates for his work as an economist and commendations for his research in law and political science. He is known for his political activism, even renouncing Hinduism in protest of the discrimination against what was the ‘untouchable caste’.

Sarkar described the close resemblance between the Indians and South Africans in their struggle for a constitutional democracy. Mr VG Mashinini, Chairperson of the Election Commission of South Africa (IEC) echoed Sarkar’s sentiments and acknowledged the sacrifices of those who ensured that both nations were freed from the tyranny of imperialism and colonialism.

As Chair and Vice Chair of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) respectively, India and South Africa have close relations to share information on best practices and processes. An MOU between the Indian and South African election commissions signed in 2011 for mutual cooperation in the field of Electoral Management and Administration further strengthens the already unbreakable bond between these nations and the continued enhancement of freedom and democracy that they enjoy.