The Election Commission’s new Electors Verification Programme (EVP) has found few takers in Ahmedabad, the most urbanised district of Gujarat. However, this online system meant to self-authenticate and rectify mistakes in the electoral rolls has more users in tribal districts like Tapi and Dang.
“The deadline for voters to verify their names on the EVP is October 15 and till now only 59 lakh voters have self-authenticated themselves,” said Dr S Murali Krishna, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat. This is about 13 per cent of the total 4.51 crore voters in Gujarat. There are six platforms through which a voter can check, correct and self-authenticate the details. It can be done through National Voters’ Service Portal (NVSP), Voter Helpline Mobile Application, Common Service Centre or CSC, E-gram, Voter Facilitation Centre or VFC and through BLO.net.
Since the launch of EVP in September 2019, the maximum number of voters who used it to verify their details on the electoral rolls in Gujarat are from the district of Tapi in South Gujarat where 32 per cent of voters have self-authenticated themselves. Tapi is followed by Dang (23%), Banaskantha (18%), Chhota Udepur (16.5%), Mahisagar (16.47%) and Narmada (15%).
In comparison, the lowest participation in EVP was in Ahmedabad were only 4.96 per cent of the total 55 lakh voters self-authenticated. Mehsana (5.5%), Jamnagar (5.57%), Junagadh (5.96%), Kheda (6.38%)and Anand (7.92%) were at the bottom of the list of 33 districts.
Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra reviewed the performance of the EVP in Gujarat in the last week of September and expressed his displeasure. Most of the officials who attended the review meeting in Gandhinagar were from urban areas.
When asked why rural centres, especially those in the tribal areas, performed better than their urban counterparts, Dr Murali Krishna told The Indian Express, “In rural areas, the CSC is operated by the Fair Price Shops. They get Rs 2 for every verified voter. Similarly, is the case with E-gram where they get money for the verification process.”
There are no charges for verification carried through NVSP, mobile application or the VFC. “Urban voters can easily do this verification process through NVSP and the mobile application. If they do not want to do it themselves, they can go to VFC which is free or through other platforms like CSC or E-gram,” the official added.