In a bid to reach out to voters, following the complaints during the Lok Sabha polls that names were missing, the Election Commission is sending 8.30 lakh letters to be delivered to voters whose names were deleted from list during the last revision in the Pune district. The cost is Rs 2.28 crore, each letter being sent by speed post costing Rs 28.50 paise each.
However, EC opened up purse strings for Pune, Mumbai and Thane to reach out to missing voters, the postal department is left with a large number of letters that have not been delivered as either addresses are incomplete or persons have shifted. The EC announced that they would send 26 lakh letters across the state to voters whose names were deleted during the last revision so that those who found their names missing from the list can enroll again. The EC is spending Rs 7.41 crore to send these letters.
“The EC announced that letters will be dispatched to people whose names were deleted from the electoral list during the last revision. The expenses are being allotted from election expenditures which is a 50 per cent share from the centre and state,’’ said chief electoral officer of the state Nitin Gadre. The letters are to be distributed before August 15.
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With most letters not reaching the addressees, Gadre said it is the effort of the EC to reach out to all the voters and they are using speed post so that there is proof of the department making attempts to reach out to voters whose name were earlier in the list. “It is an EC decision and we are implementing it,’’ he said when asked about huge number of letters not being delivered.
The postal department that has been delivering these letters stated that addresses are incomplete and most of them had to be returned.
“While the addresses are incomplete, there are person no longer living at the address. These letters are returned. Of the nearly two lakh dispatched, only 52,000 could be delivered while the remaining are with the department. Of the total 8.3 lakh mails, many are being delivered but we are sure many will be returned as addresses are incomplete,’’ said the staff on duty.
While the EC’s letters are being sent along with form 6, so that these voters can register again, with most letters being undelivered, the main purpose of registration is not being met. “Most of the letters are being returned so there is no hope of any new registrations coming through these letters from the EC,’’ said officials from the district administration on the condition of anonymity.
Activist Vihar Durve said that the government is being careful so they are ready for answers in case of missing voters. “This is their effort to show they have reached out.
Whether they get a response is secondary. They do not want to be in a spot as was the case during the Lok Sabha elections where there were huge numbers of missing voters which saw voters even filing a PIL in the HC,’’ said Durve. He says social media and technology should be used to reach out to voters.
The draft voters’ list will be out on July 31 and the district administration stated that they would continue the drive in August till ten days before nominations are filed by the candidates for the assembly elections.