Officials insist exercise to revise electoral rolls was undertaken meticulously
The Election Commission (EC) may have apologised for the deletion of thousands of names from the voters list in Mumbai, but officials within the body insist that the exercise to revise the electoral roll was undertaken meticulously.
In the last two years, 71.76 lakh names have been deleted from the State’s electoral rolls.
But 74.74 lakh names added, EC sources say. In Mumbai, around 14 lakh names have been deleted and around 7 lakh names have been added to the rolls, according to informed sources.
“Maharashtra’s electoral roll was bloated because new names were being added and invalid names were not being deleted. Usually deletions are at least 50 per cent of additions. We had to undertake a major revision,” said Deputy Election Commissioner Sudhir Tripathi.
Maharashtra’s electoral roll also faced another major problem. “There were many names in the roll for which photos were absent,” he added. While most other States had a match of over 90 per cent between the names and photos on the rolls, in Maharashtra it was just about 70 per cent.
However, it is the manner in which the roll was revised which has caused a problem. Election Commissioner H S Brahma has admitted to procedural lapses. “I have not seen this kind of massive operational mistake. This kind of unauthorised deletion happened due to the lack of supervision and coordination on the ground,” Mr. Brahma told journalists.
However, EC sources claimed a long process was followed before the names were deleted. And that the deleted list was shared with political parties and published in newspapers. “House visits were undertaken before deleting names. The lists were also put up online. People should have checked the voters list in advance to check if their names were on it,” said a senior EC official in Maharashtra.
However, this has been disputed by many. Filmmaker Shivendra Sinh Dungarpur said he did not recall anyone from the EC staff visiting his house, but found his name struck off the list. “I have voted in the last two elections and have not shifted residence since then. Naturally I assumed I did not have to check if my name was on the list,” he said.
EC officials say their checks are handicapped by the lack of a dedicated staff. “We rely mainly on school teachers to do the house visits. Also metros face the problem of anonymity. Often neighbours do not know each other and cannot confirm if someone lives in the address listed,” said a senior EC official.
Many names in the roll for which photos were absent Unauthorised deletion happened due to the lack of supervision
Many names in the roll for which photos were absent
Unauthorised deletion happened due to the lack of supervision