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Compile de novo electoral rolls for Mumbai: Ram Naik

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Senior BJP leader Ram Naik on Friday demanded from Election Commission to compile de novo electoral rolls for Mumbai, Thane and Pune, to resolve the issues of “discrepancies” in existing rolls.

“To resolve the issues of discrepancies in electoral rolls and thereafter to conduct assembly polls smoothly, the Election Commission must compile de novo electoral rolls of Mumbai, Thane and Pune by enumeration from house to house,” Naik, former Petroleum Minister, told reporters here.

“Mumbai residents voted on April 24. Later, while compiling data, I noticed that in 2009 there were 97,79,650 voters in the six Lok Sabha constituencies of Mumbai and 98,97,699 voters in 2014. This means there was an increase of only 1,18,049 voters in the last five years,” he said.

“Data from election officers of Mumbai City and Mumbai Suburban districts revealed that total increase during these five years was of 18,93,686 voters and total deletions were of 16,23,612 voters. The difference between these two figures is of 2,70,074 voters ,” he said.

Before deleting names of voters on such a massive scale, the election officials should have taken great care and it is seen that normal precautions like giving notices, if voters were not traceable, were not taken, he said. This callousness has destroyed the sanctity of the electoral rolls, he added.

“The only solution is to compile de novo electoral rolls by going house to house. Along with Mumbai it should be done for Thane and Pune as such lacunae were experienced there too,” Naik said.

“We realised that duplicate voters were in big number after the parliamentary elections of 2004. In 2008, I met N Gopalswami, the then Chief Election Commissioner and requested to investigate the matter,” Naik said.

“I got the electoral rolls of three Assembly segments Malad, Kandivli and Borivli examined prior to delimitation and compared those with all the 34 assembly segments of Mumbai and 6 assembly segments of Thane.

“The result was shocking. Out of 18,02,877 voters of these three segments 3,57,520 — almost 20 percent — were duplicate voters. I presented the lists of these duplicate voters along with their names and serial nos to Debashish Chakraborty, the then Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra in April, 2008,” Naik said.

“In 2012, we requested SY Qureshi, the then Chief Election Commissioner, to re-compile electoral rolls. We also made presentation to the three-member’s full Election Commission. We got an assurance from the Commission that it would take necessary action,” he said.

“We spoke to Nitin Gadre, Chief Electoral Officer of Maharashtra in July last year when the preparations of electoral rolls for 2014 general elections started. We suggested that voters’ names should be checked by making house to house visits to ensure such voters and houses exist in reality,” he said.

“We also suggested that in order to avoid bogus voting electoral rolls must contain photographs of all voters and voters without photographs should be served notice to submit them by giving time frame. Thereafter those who fail to submit photographs should be deleted from voters lists after completing statutory formalities,” he said.

Had these suggestions implemented, last month’s fiasco could have been avoided, Naik said. He lauded the Election Commission for sending voters’ slips to their houses.

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