Chief Election Commissioner O.P. Rawat on Wednesday justified deletion of lakhs of voters in Telangana saying the Election Commission used the latest technology to purify the electoral rolls during special revision.
The number of voters in Telangana have come down from 2.82 crore in 2014 to 2.73 crore as per the final rolls published this month. The net deletions were about 22 lakh as 12 lakh new voters were added.
The poll panel attributed this to voters with multiple entries, those who migrated and those who were dead.
The CEC, however, assured the political parties that the election authorities will look into their specific complaints through verification by Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) concerned in the presence of representatives of all political parties.
Even after publication of final rolls, the state election machinery continues to receive applications for updating the rolls. He said second supplement will be published on November 19 and all those included in it will be eligible to vote in December 7 elections to Telangana assembly.
Rawat was addressing a news conference at the end of three-day visit to Telangana along with other election commissioners and top officials to assess the state’s poll preparedness.
Congress had last month approached the Supreme Court over deletion of large number of voters. The apex court referred the petition to Hyderabad High Court.
Congress and other parties also flagged their concern during meeting with the Election Commission team headed by CEC on Monday.
The CEC explained that the voters’ list was brought on digital platform and they used de-duplication software and latest technology to find the deficiencies and correct them.
“This is a transition phase. Once EROnet becomes operational throughout the country and linked to registrar of births and deaths, all these problems will evaporate,” he said.
“The Election Commission is committed to maintaining purity of elections and to deliver free, fair and transparent elections. It has directed the state and district level election machinery to be fearless, unbiased, neutral and independent from any influence whatsoever,” he said.
According to the final electoral rolls published on October 12, Telangana has 2.73 crore voters including 1.38 male, 1.35 crore female and 2,663 third gender voters.
The state has 119 assembly constituencies including 19 reserved for Scheduled Castes and 12 for Scheduled Tribes. EVMs with VVPATs will be used in all 32,574 polling stations.
VVPAT enables a voter to see the name of the candidate and the symbol of the candidate he has voted for, on printed paper slip.
Rawat said the political parties voiced their apprehension over large scale of abuse of money, distribution freebies and liquor and misuse of social media and fake media.
He said the Election Commission was interacting with heads of social media platforms and would organize workshops with them to strengthen arrangements to prevent any adverse impact on elections.
The CEC said some parties raised concern about alleged presence of intelligence officers of a neighbouring state and the likely impact of advertisements by political parties in that state on the election process in Telangana.
The EC team took note of concerns and suggestions of the parties and assured that it will put in place an effective mechanism to ensure smooth conduct of entire poll process in free, fair and inclusive manner.