Updated: March 24, 2021 10:10:46 pm
Following complaints of massive discrepancies in the electoral rolls published for the Assembly elections, the Election Commission on Wednesday ordered booth-level inspection of voters in all 140 constituencies of Kerala.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala has complained to Kerala Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena that names of thousands of people have been repeated in the list, with many electors holding multiple ID cards and enrolling themselves as voters in various booths within one or more constituencies. Besides, the photos and details of the same person were repeated several times to create a long list of bogus voters.
After releasing a list of voters with multiple ID cards in many constituencies, the Congress leader alleged that the CPI(M) government used the official machinery to create bogus voters and sabotage the electoral process. Around 4.34 lakh bogus voters have crept into the final voters’ list, said Chennithala.
Meena said the preliminary examination of the complaints has revealed that names of several voters had got repeated with similar photos and different addresses. In some booths, the same voter was found to have more than one ID card with different addresses.
He said all the district collectors were directed to examine the voters’ list in all 140 assembly constituencies to detect repetition of names. Special teams should be formed for examining the voters’ list, he added.
Accordingly, a list of voters, whose names have repeatedly appeared in various booths in one constituency or in various constituencies, would be prepared. This list should be handed over to booth-level officers, who would conduct a field-level examination to identify genuine voters. The booth-level officers should demarcate the names multiplied in the voters’ list and the same should be handed over to the returning officers.
On voting day, the presiding officers would have to prepare a separate list of voters whose names had repeated. Such voters would be allowed to leave the polling booths only after the election ink on their finger has dried.
The list of the voters whose name got repeated in the list would be handed over to all political parties. Even if a polling agent does not complain about impersonation, it is the duty of the polling officer to detect such anomalies.
If any lapses or connivance is found on the part of any officer in repeating the names of voters in the list, stringent action will be taken against such officials. Action was initiated against an officer who had issued more than one voter ID card to a single person in Kasaragod, said the Chief Electoral officer.
The issue of there being thousands of bogus voters assumes significance because the margin of victory in many constituencies can be by a few thousand votes in many cases.