DIMAPUR, May 8 - Nagaland Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjay Kumar has admitted that the electoral rolls in Nagaland are infested with a substantial number of bogus entries.
According to the CEO, the entries in the E-Roll are simply preposterous and defy logic. Double entries are common but it does not end there, he said, adding the anomalies range from mismatched names and photos to villages where the number of electors is equivalent to or more than that of the population of the village. Nagaland has at present 2,138 polling stations.
He said this while addressing a meeting organised by the Nagaland Tribes Council (NTC) here.
A number of representatives from Against Corruption and Unabated Taxation Nagaland, GBs Federation Nagaland, Youth Association of Nagaland and Survival Nagaland were present at the meeting held on the issue ‘interactive session with civil bodies on illegal influx and floating population with special focus on purification of the Electoral Roll in Nagaland.’
The CEO, while admitting anomalies in the Census and the E-Roll, also made it clear that the agency needs unconditional and unrelenting support of all strata of the civil society. “We all know the problem. Let us not perpetuate the blame game,” he said.
He further cited the instances of senior government officials who have names registered in more than one polling station while reminding that there is legal penalty for wrongful registration.
On a suggestion by the ACAUT to link up the E-Roll with Aadhar, the CEO said it may sound logical but is not practical. Stating that there is a downside to it, he cited Haryana as an instance where admission to schools is declined after the biometric system of admitting children to schools through Aadhar was introduced. On another suggestion to crosscheck the figures with church enrolment, the CEO responded, “We’ve requested. But all we could do is request.”
Joint CEO N Moa Aier said locals facilitating the inclusion of people of dubious origins are not helping the effort to clean up the E-Roll.
The Nagaland E-Roll at present is stated to be 11,40,000 which is a fair drop from the figure of 13,38,000 in 2011. However, conservative estimates suggest it should be no more than 7,00,000.
The problem is all too evident as Survival Nagaland members pointed out during the interaction. The recently held Assam elections witnessed thousands of non-Nagas flocking to their respective place of origins in Assam to vote. “These same people had voted in Nagaland in 2013 and they will vote in 2018 too.”
A gaonbura said more effort is required to sensitise stakeholders at the grassroots. He suggested that such interactive sessions must be organised area wise.
Dimapur DC Kesonye Yhome said utmost cooperation of all individuals and groups alike is needed while maintaining that it cannot be the job of ECI alone.