Though the Election Commission claims to revise electoral rolls before every major election, more than 8 lakh 'ghost' voters have been detected in Punjab in the past five months. The 'ghost' or duplicate voters came to light during the linking of Aadhaar cards with elector's photo identity cards (EPICs).
Though the process of linking the Aadhaar card with an individual's EPIC was stalled following the Supreme Court order on August 11, the office of the Punjab electoral officer claimed to have linked 80% of the electoral rolls by then.
Punjab has 1.92 crore voters according to the electoral rolls released by the Election Commission on January 2 last year.
Though Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) VK Singh could not be contacted, deputy CEO Sukhdev Lal said, "We have found more than 8 lakh duplicate voters in the linking process so far."
The Election Commission started the linking process in May under its National Electoral Rolls Purification and Authentication Programme to keep a check on the duplication of votes.
A senior officer said that during the linking process at the booth level, it came to light that the duplicate voters on the present electoral rolls were neither present at the available addresses during the door-to-door survey, nor did they approach the respective polling booths during public camps.
Besides, cases of dual votes were also reported during the process, an official said.
Meanwhile, with revision of electoral rolls on the cards for the first time after the 2014 parliamentary elections, the Election Commission has decided to strike off the names from the rolls on the basis of the data gathered during the linking campaign.
"The election officers at the district level have been directed to strike down these names during revision and an updated version will be released on January 11," deputy CEO Sukhdev Singh said.
Meanwhile, chairing a meeting of senior administrative officials of seven districts on Wednesday, VK Meena, commissioner of Ferozepur and Faridkot divisions, directed the officials to conduct a door-to-door survey at the booth level to ensure that there were no duplicate and dual votes in the revised voter list.
Parminderpal Singh Sandhu, state-level master trainer, who imparts training to the ground staff, instructed the officials to remain vigilant while adding or deleting the names of voters from the list.