Panjab University, which is gearing up for the senate elections slated for September 25, does not seem to have an updated voters’ list of varsity graduates who are eligible to vote in the elections.
As per the voters’ lists going round, there are over 6 lakh registered Panjab University graduates, who are eligible to vote for 48 candidates who are in the fray, where the voters participate in preferential voting system and can express their preference in favour of all the contestants.
Interestingly, the voters’ list has not been revised since independence and as a result, even those who died years ago continue to figure on the list.
Vice-president of the All India Federation of Retired University and College Teachers Organisation and DAV College Retired Teachers Association general secretary Satish Chander said that the Ambala list includes names of over 1,000 voters who have already died, some of who died more than 40-50 years ago. As per rules, any university graduate can be enrolled as a life member after paying a nominal fee of `15. Chander reveals that less than 10% registered voters vote during the senate elections but the university bears the needless expenditure of posting a letter to each voter.
“The university budget for conducting the elections runs into crores as it also prints a large number of electoral rolls for the elections,” he said.
Even for the candidates, it is a strenuous task to keep the track of the voters,” he added. “In the absence of proper updating, huge bogus voting also takes place,” Chander said. He claimed that 270 polling booths are made in Punjab, Haryana, Himachal, Chandigarh, Delhi and other places while candidates spend lakhs of rupees for a four year term. He added that over the years, these elections have become an arena for one-upmanship of political parties, who indirectly field their candidates and press their respective workers for door-to-door campaigning.
Parbahas Prashar, a voter, said that if the government and banks can manage life certificates of pensioners, then why can’t the university wing that conducts the elections adopt a similar procedure for maintaining an accurate list of voters for senate elections.