TAMIL NADU

Electoral rolls: Election Commission may extend deadline for verification

BULK APPLICATIONS: Naresh Gupta, Chief Electoral Officer, S.K. Mendiretta, Legal Adviser, Election Commission, and Tapas Kumar, Secretary, Election Commission, at an all-party meeting at the Secretariat in Chennai on Saturday. — Photo: V. Gane san

BULK APPLICATIONS: Naresh Gupta, Chief Electoral Officer, S.K. Mendiretta, Legal Adviser, Election Commission, and Tapas Kumar, Secretary, Election Commission, at an all-party meeting at the Secretariat in Chennai on Saturday. — Photo: V. Gane san  

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: : The Legal Adviser to the Election Commission (EC), S.K.Mendiratta, indicated on Saturday that the Commission, if necessary, might extend the June 20 deadline for verification of claims and objections with regard to revision of electoral rolls in the State.

Mr. Mendiretta and Election Commission Secretary Tapas Kumar held discussions with representatives of eight political parties — the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazagam (AIADMK), the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Congress, the Pattali Makkal Katchi, the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Nationalist Congress Party, on the issue of submission of bulk applications for inclusion of names in the electoral rolls on May 30, which was the last date for filing of claims and objections. Both Mr. Mendiretta and Mr. Kumar were deputed by the EC to discuss the issue.

Later, Mr. Mendiretta said, "if necessary, we will request the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to see that more teams are put on verification duty."

Teams sent by the CEO and EC would also visit the districts to ascertain if the process of disposal of the claims and objections was duly carried out.

Making it clear that all the personnel on election duty from District Election Officers to field staff on verification work were "under the direction, discipline and control of the EC," he said if anybody among them was found wanting, they would be dealt with strictly.

The AIADMK wanted that the verification work to be undertaken by employees of the Central Government and those of the banks, LIC and Postal Department, he said. Representatives of those parties, which announced an agitation on the issue, now said that that they would apprise their leaders of the EC team's assurances at a meeting slated for June 7.

Liable for penal action

To a query, he said, the EC while permitting receipt of bulk applications, had laid down clear guidelines for such submissions. Parties, which made false claims, were liable for penal action, as it had been done recently in Andhra Pradesh.The representatives of political parties expressed concern about the bulk applications received on May 30. "We have tried to assure them that the rolls will be prepared as defect-free as humanly possible."

The parties were told that each and every application would be verified and decisions taken on each case individually. They were assured that the final rolls would not be published without the EC's clearance.

It was made clear that the lists in Form 9,10, 11 and 11A would be handed over to all the political parties on June 8. They could submit their objections till June 15, he said.

Suggestion

The parties unanimously made a suggestion that intensive rolls' revision should be undertaken in all the 234 Assembly constituencies, he said adding that the EC would take an appropriate decision on the issue.

The Chief Electoral Officer, Naresh Gupta, said that 12.73 lakh applications of a total of 16.61 lakh claims were received on May 30.

The names under the "999" category could not be deleted immediately, he noted.

Governor Surjit Singh Barnala held discussions with the CEO at the Raj Bhavan on the revision and the deputation of a two-member team to Chennai by the Election Commission of India.

The team is expected to visit a few districts, starting with Villupuram, to assess the nature and gravity of the problem posed by the bulk applications.

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