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Election commissioner asks why NRI electors low in Punjab

The election commissioner said that nobody would believe that this number can be so low in a state like Punjab, which has an extensive Indian diaspora in various parts of the world.

punjab Updated: Feb 12, 2018 00:06 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Amritsar
EC,election commission,Punjab electors
Election commissioner Sunil Arora in Amritsar.(Sameer Sehgal/HT)

Even as a large number of people in Punjab are settled abroad, only 341 non-resident Indian (NRI) voters are registered in the state. Election commissioner Sunil Arora on Sunday questioned the Punjab election commission as to why the number of NRI electors in the state was abysmal.

“The reasons need to be looked into by undertaking an in depth analysis of electoral rolls. Nobody would believe that this number can be so low in a state like Punjab, which has an extensive Indian diaspora in various parts of the world, he said. This issue would be reviewed at the level of ECI after two months.

Arora was in Amritsar to review various facets of functioning of electoral machinery with Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) SK Raju, keeping in view of Lok Sabha polls due next year.

Arora asked officials to ensure large-scale awareness drive for ethical voting, besides ensuring registration of each and every eligible person as voter.

The election commissioner also directed officials to organise meetings with block level officers to further spread the message of ECI at the bottom level.

He emphasised that every youth in the age group of 18 to 19 years should be registered as a voter. He also asked the CEO Punjab to start an awareness campaign in the educational institutions.

‘Parallel polls idea needs wide-ranging debate’

Meanwhile, amid debate over the idea of holding simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha and state assemblies, Arora said the idea requires wider discussions of all the stakeholders.

Arora, who paid obeisance at the Golden Temple, said the proposal needed amendments in related laws. “If one thinks the proposal is implemented, it is not possible,” he said.

However, he said once implemented, simultaneous polls will reduce the expenses on the polling and deployment of security forces. Notably, the BJP has been pushing for simultaneous polls to assemblies and Lok Sabha, but not all political parties are on board.

First Published: Feb 11, 2018 21:03 IST