Ahead of LS polls, voters in Meghalaya receive ‘multiple’ electoral cards | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Ahead of LS polls, voters in Meghalaya receive ‘multiple’ electoral cards

ByDavid Laitphlang
Feb 11, 2024 12:36 PM IST

While some have got two, there are instances when either a fresh voter or an enrolled one making a correction or alteration has got their cards more than three times

Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, voters in Meghalaya have begun receiving their electoral photo identity cards (EPIC) as part of the electoral process, people aware of the matter said on Friday. However, several have received multiple voter ID cards.

 (Representative Photo)
(Representative Photo)

While some have got two, there are instances when either a fresh voter or an enrolled one making a correction or alteration has got their cards more than three times, said people. Significantly, amongst such multiple cards being issued to a single voter, some have different electoral numbers.

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According to the people, the electoral cards are currently being issued throughout the state, commencing on National Voters Day, held on 25th January 2024, through the respective booth-level officers (BLO) of all constituencies. They in turn collect the EPICs from their enumerator at the office of the deputy commissioner who is the designated electoral registration officer (ERO), said people.

According to some officers, when such cases of duplicity in the cards were detected, and immediately brought to the knowledge of the respective enumerators, they were asked to continue with the exercise.

“So, we carried on with our designated duty and kept on distributing the cards since we thought it must be part of the process, and more so since our superior has advised us so,” a BLO of a semi-urban constituency told HT after being repeatedly assured confidentiality.

“Though it is confusing, we are on an assignment to complete as this is commissioned by the Election Commission of India and so we are following orders,” the officer added.

Another BLO of another constituency on Thursday found an EPIC belonging to the same voter, but, with two different numbers i.e. while the first eight characters are the same, the last two vary. When queried as to which is the correct enrolment number, the BLO replied, “I really can’t say. Only senior officers know the answer.”

People with knowledge of the electoral process expressed surprise at such an occurrence. “Throughout my career, I have been integrally involved with the election department in various capacities and this has never occurred before. I don’t know what to say. Even Aadhaar and PAN cards are issued singly not in multiples,” a senior government employee said refusing to be named.

Shillong MP, and president of the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC), Vincent H Pala said, “I am shocked and alarmed by this information. I shall find out more about this, and if this is true, then surely someone must clarify such a grave blunder, some definite answers must be given especially when we are going to the polls soon.”

The opposition All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) Meghalaya unit president Charles Pyngrope said the situation is very alarming. “If this is true then it is very alarming. With the MP elections soon to be held throughout the country, I think the election commission should enquire into such instances immediately and take immediate corrective measures to rectify any anomaly. A voter with two different EPIC numbers will be confused about which is the right one. Who will take the blame ECI or the voter?”

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Meghalaya, B.D.R. Tiwari responded by saying this is not possible. “It could be a mistake, it should not happen, maybe the voter has not returned the old one (these are brand new cards), this is done at the electoral registration officer’s level,” he added.

“Preliminary enquiry reveals that such duplicity has taken place in only one batch but we are still probing further and if any lapse is detected, appropriate remedial measures will be initiated promptly,” the CEO said, adding, “The cards are printed in Hyderabad, and I think some mistake must have taken place there, but again, it is the responsibility of the respective EROs to ensure this does not happen. Rest assured the matter will be addressed shortly.”

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