The Election Commission (EC) has issued warning to Shivpuri Collector Tarun Rathi for failing to review voters list for the Madhya Pradesh’s Kolaras Assembly constituency, where by-elections were held on February 24, that led to inclusion of over 5,500 dead and 1,900 multiple entries in it. The EC has written to Madhya Pradesh Chief Secretary and asked him to ensure that Rathi, a 2010-batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, is given the warning — considered as punishment in administrative parlance.
The move comes following a complaint by the Congress party to the EC on alleged irregularities in the voters list in the constituency. The Madhya Pradesh’s chief electoral officer in a recent letter also blamed the district collector and the district’s electoral officer for the lapse, saying, “There were 1,918 multiple entries and 5,537 dead voters in the voters list during the by-election in Kolaras in Shivpuri district.”
It means booth-level officers and the electoral registration officer did not pay attention towards it and even the district electoral officer did not monitor it properly, the letter stated.
The letter said if the collector and the district electoral officer had continuously reviewed the voters list, especially before the by-polls, such a large number of dead voters would have not been included.
Taking note of the state electoral officer’s letler, the Commission asked the chief secretary to issue warning to Rathi and also inform it about the action taken against him, as per the copy of the EC’s communiqué, a copy of which was received in response to an RTI query filed by anti-corruption activist Ajay Dubey.
Dubey demanded that the entire voters’ list in Madhya Pradesh is reviewed to check any discrepancy. Congress’ Mahendra Yadav won from the Kolaras constituency in the by-election, result of which were declared on February 28.
Yadav got 82,515 votes, while BJP’s Devendra Jain got 74,432 votes. In March, the state chief electoral office had written to the collector of Shivpuri, Tarun Rathi, to give his clarification over the issue of alleged irregularities in the voters list. The Election Commission of India had sought response from the collector and the district electoral officer.