In an unprecedented development, one that could have far-reaching effects on the coming Lok Sabha elections, over 74.5 lakh people turned up to get themselves enrolled as voters at the one-day special camp organised across the country by the Election Commission on March 9. This, admitted EC officials, is the biggest turnout so far on a single day.
According to information accessed by The Indian Express, 74,56,367 people turned up at the 9.3 lakh polling stations across the country on Sunday and filled up Form 6 — the form required to apply for inclusion in the electoral rolls.
UP saw the highest turnout (15.4 lakh), followed by Andhra Pradesh (11 lakh), Tamil Nadu (9.9 lakh), Bihar (7 lakh), Maharashtra (4.7 lakh), Rajasthan (4.5 lakh), Gujarat (3.3 lakh) and Karnataka (3 lakh).
Whether they are enrolled as voters or not will depend on a verification process, said officials, adding that not many people are expected to find their applications rejected. The names which are cleared will be added to the electoral rolls before the last date of nominations in their respective constituencies.
While updating the electoral roll is an ongoing activity, the EC had decided to hold a one-day pan-India special camp to allow people to visit their polling stations and check if their names figure in the electoral rolls. If “left out for some reason” or “wrongly deleted”, they could apply afresh. “Arguably, this is the highest ever number of people that have applied on a single day to get themselves enrolled as voters. This is also because of the fact that this one-day special camp was conducted simultaneously at all the polling stations across the country,” said an EC official, requesting anonymity.
“We have held special camps in the past, but these were usually spread over two-three days and conducted on different dates in different states. But these many number of people have never turned up on a single day anywhere,” said the official, adding that the “overwhelming numbers” had even surprised many in the EC.
According to EC officials, a 10-day process has begun since Monday, during which these 74.5 lakh applicants will be verified. “To begin with, the names of those who have applied will be displayed on lists in their respective polling stations. Anybody who has any objection to any name can register the objection during a seven-day notice period,” said an official.
An applicant’s name will be added to the rolls once the electoral registration officer is satisfied about the credentials. “Once verified, an applicant’s name will be finally added to an additional list,” said the official.