TAKING A serious note of what he called ‘deviations’ in the electoral rolls, chief election commissioner N Gopalaswamy today asked the State Government to deploy an officer on every booth to ensure that revised rolls included names of all eligible voters, including those who would become eligible to vote on January 1, 2007.
“This deviation gives sufficient reason to take a note in advance. This is also sufficient for us to get cracking,” said the CEC while talking to media persons here today. Gopalaswamy, however, insisted that the figures of deviations in the electoral rolls could not be termed as alarming as they were based only on a random checking carried out in two out of 403 Vidhan Sabha constituencies.
Gopalaswamy, who was here on his maiden visit as CEC, had to face questions about possibilities of holding early Vidhan Sabha election in Uttar Pradesh.
“Elections in UP are due to be held by May 7, 2007,” he said while replying to a question. There was no proposal from the State Government to hold early Vidhan Sabha elections in Uttar Pradesh, he said adding the purpose of his visit was to ensure fair electoral rolls for the polls.
Significantly, Gopalaswamy also addressed a meeting of the divisional commissioners in the morning and asked them to ensure that there was no slackness at any level in following the EC’s directives on electoral rolls. This is for the first that the divisional commissioners were being involved in electoral preparations, he said. The EC had taken a cue in this regard from its experiences in Bihar and other states, he said adding the first draft rolls would be published by October 6, 2006.
In order to ensure a free and fair election, the EC would deploy IAS officers from other states as divisional polling officers in each of the 17 divisions, he informed the officers.
Dwelling on the findings of random survey, Gopalaswamy said the checking of 2006 electoral rolls in two constituencies reflected that names of five per cent eligible voters did not figure there.
In rural areas, the rolls included five per cent names which should not have been there, he said. In urban areas too 10 per cent names included in electoral rolls should not have been there, he added.
Gopalaswamy repeated his observations when chief secretary Naveen Chandra Bajpai called on him at Raj Bhawan. There should be no shortage of finances, he told the chief secretary. Others who met the CEC included principal secretary (Home) Satish Agarwal and DGP Bua Singh. There was, however, no discussion on law and order situation, said the CEC who also called on Governor TV Rajeswar.
About photo identity cards, the CEC said the cards had been issued to only 65 per cent voters. In 60 constituencies the average was 75 per cent while in 28 constituencies this average was 80 percent.
Officers have been asked to take this to the range of 90 to 95 per cent, he said adding the EC would consider introducing photo electoral rolls wherever photo ID-cards were issued to 100 per cent voters.
The EC has also asked officers to set up 10,275 new polling centres to ensure that number of voters did not exceed 1500 at any booth, he said. Asked in how many phases he planned to hold the elections in UP, the CEC said the question was imaginary at this stage.
“We are bound to hold election in a free and fair manner in UP,” he said.