|Row over rolls revision exercise in State |
GUWAHATI, July 6 – As part of the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP) launched by the Election Commission, revision of electoral rolls has been on in the State with deletion, addition and correction of voters’ names.
The exercise has generated a lot of heat in Assam in view of allegations of large-scale anomalies in voters’ lists, which reportedly contain names of illegal migrants. In the recent past, the Gauhati High Court had also pronounced a number of judgments directing deletion of illegal migrants’ names from voters’ lists while upholding verdicts of Foreigners’ Tribunals.
In Kamrup (Metro) district alone, over 40,000 names have been deleted from the electoral rolls, while 29,000 names have been corrected so far.
“As part of the ongoing exercise, we have deleted over 40,000 names and corrected 29,000 names so far. Most of the names deleted so far has been necessitated by factors like death of voters and shifting of voters – including shifting caused by marriage – from one place to another,” Chinmoy Phukan, Election Officer, Kamrup (Metro), told The Assam Tribune.
Phukan, however, refuted reports in a section of the media that illegal Bangladeshi migrants gave wrong addresses (addresses of local residents of Guwahati as their own) to have their names included in the voters’ list.
“There have been some allegations regarding this but after verification this has been found to be incorrect. In some cases there had been some printing and computer mistakes, while in some others, the addresses given by persons belonging to the floating population did not match their current address. These discrepancies are being looked into and rectified,” Phukan said.
Phukan added that deletion of a person’s name from the electoral rolls could be done only when the person concerned was declared an illegal migrant by a Foreigners’ Tribunal. “We have no authority to delete the name of a person on the suspicion that he/she is an illegal migrant. It has to be preceded by a court order,” he said.
Phukan said that after the preparation of the draft electoral roll, complaints are solicited following which a supplement is brought out where additions and deletions of voters’ names are done as per requirement. This is followed by what is called integration where all mistakes or discrepancies are rectified and a correct electoral roll is published.
The EC launched the National Electoral Rolls Purification and Authentication Programme on March 3 with the objective of linking and authenticating electors’ EPIC data with Aadhar of UIDAI; correction of errors, voluntary disclosure of multiple entries, and improvement of image quality of photograph of the voter. The process is expected to be completed by August 1.