After facing flak for the missing names in the voters’ lists in Mumbai, Thane and Pune, the Election Commission has decided to reach out to them personally. The EC will undertake a special drive to contact 19.40 lakh voters from four districts to ensure their names were not deleted by mistake.
Of the 50.32 lakh names deleted in 2013, 19.40 lakh were from Mumbai, its suburbs, Thane and Pune. The cities witnessed huge uproar in the Lok Sabha elections as thousands of names went missing from the electoral rolls. The Bombay High Court, while hearing a clutch of PILs filed by voters in March, had directed the EC to revise the electoral rolls.
The EC, which has launched a summary revision drive between June 9 and 30, has planned another unprecedented drive especially for voters from these four areas.
“We will send them personalised letters on their addresses by speed post along with Form 6 required for registration in the voters list. This would serve two purposes, the postman delivering speed post mail does not hand over the letter to anyone other than the addressee. If accepted on the given address, it would prove the voter still stays there. If not, it will help us establish that the voter has shifted and our deletion was right,” said an official from the EC.
The official said voters who receive the letters would be able to fill the forms provided with the letter.
“However, they will have to attach valid documents and personally visit the office of the authority to get their name registered. We are sure our drive for the deletion of names was fool-proof and deletions were done only after following due process by the block level officers who visited homes. But there is a possibility of some names being deleted by mistake and the drive would help us in adding them back to the rolls,” he said.
He said that the special drive is expected to begin in July, and is expected to cost the EC a huge amount. “The letters are to be sent by speed post which costs Rs. 25. Apart from 19 lakh voters, it will need huge manpower at the collectorates of four districts. We have estimated cost of Rs8 crore for the drive,” another officer from the EC said.
Nitin Gadre, chief electoral officer of Maharashtra, refused to divulge information, and said, “We have been following HC orders on the issue.”