“India set to become first country to have no duplicacy in voters’ list: CEC HS Brahma,” reads a headline in DNA India. This is music to my ears. Dr. Ashwin Mahesh states “CEC tells 3 lies in 1 sentence – India will SOON becomes the ONLY country to have NO duplication in electoral rolls”
CEC stated, “We will do it definitely by 2015… There will be not a single fraud or duplicate voters.” This he promises to achieve by linking voter records with Aadhar UID. Enrolling in Aadhar as well as linking voter record with it is voluntary. Try hitting a moving target from a rickety platform with a handheld manual gun. It is fun, but you produce only sound and smoke, polluting the surrounding and confusing the people around.
CEC said once the Aadhar number is mentioned in the electoral rolls then individual voters can also change their address online because Aadhar will be the basic identity.
It will remove all allegations of duplicacy in the voters list and harassment to voters in changing their.
Suspected duplicate entries are rampant in all the states. E.g., 28 constituencies of Bangalore have 5,79,876 sets of such records, requiring verification of about 18 lakh records. Delhi has 11,08,326 sets of suspected duplicate records, requiring verification of about 37 lakh records.
In the electoral rolls, even EPIC numbers are duplicated. It is like two citizens sharing one passport number. Sadly, ECI and CEOs have not used the available information, proofs and simple tools and ECI prescribed procedure to discover and remove duplicate entries from voter lists. More than 2 years ago I shared with ECI a software to identify suspected duplicates by fuzzy comparison of text. The software can also compare voter photographs in such records to shorten the list to almost sure duplicate entries.
To add insult to injury, even when a voter approaches authorities to get duplicate entries removed, no action is taken and the voter is made to run around.
When we have not acted for years on the available data, it is unlikely that Aadhaar alone will help remove all the duplicate entries by end of 2015. Interestingly, Mr. Nandan Nilekani’s daughter has two entries in the electoral roll.
CEC appealed to the citizens to avoid duplicate names in the voter list saying it is a crime punishable for upto one year. It is ironic when no corrective steps, leave alone action on the defaulting officers of his organisation, is considered for various wrong practices. E.g.,
- In 2012, 13.5 lakh voters in Bangalore were deleted without due diligence. Even now, I suspect that about 2 lakh of them are not restored despite court orders to restore the voters suo-motu.
- Deletion of voters continues in Karnataka when modifying voters. This can be easily corrected by some changes to software and adhering to procedures promulgated by ECI.
- BBMP ward offices in Bangalore refuse to accept various forms, but want the citizens to put them in drop-boxes provided in a few offices. They refuse to give acknowledgement, which removes accountability to process applications. Thousands of applications were not processed in the past registration drives.
- Duplicate entries are not removed though they can be found easily, and even when a voter has submitted Form-7 repeatedly.
- Various absurd errors continue to haunt the electoral rolls.
It is prudent for the CEOs to clean their own operations before telling the citizens that duplicate entries in voter list is a crime. The error is mostly due to non-professional approach by CEOs
ECI is spinning new excuses to hide their utterly non-professional approach to Electoral Management System. Linking voter records to Aadhar is yet another new mouse trap.
Note: You may enjoy reading about universal suffrage and Mouse Trap Farce in a book by WD Howells published in 1894.