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Probe missing voters' names in Maharashtra, says BJP

Posted on Apr 21 2014 | IANS

Nagpur (Maharashtra), April 21 : The BJP Monday demanded a probe into the circumstances leading to the deletion of names of more than six million voters in Maharashtra.

Vinod Tiwari, the Bharatiya Janata Party's national vice president and co-convenor of the party's legal and legislative cell, filed a complaint with the Chief Election Commissioner in New Delhi and the Maharashtra chief electoral officer in this regard.

Tiwari told media persons here that the entire work of revising the voters' rolls was taken up by the election department through the National Informatics Centre (NIC), which had deployed private companies.

"The work of preparation of voters' I-cards, conversion of PDF files of electoral rolls for all booths and printing was awarded to a private IT company from Bhopal," Tiwari said.

However, due to mistakes by the election officers or data transmission and assembling errors or data corruption by the private firm, over 7.4 million voters' names were 'missing', surprisingly without following the due process of law, he said.

Tiwari said the casual manner in which six million names were deleted and another 1.4 million names not included, deprived 7.4 million voters their fundamental right to vote in the national election.

He said a detailed study of the electoral rolls proves that an average of 180,000-200,000 voters' names were deleted in each of the 35 districts of Maharashtra - or 15 percent of the state's total electorate.

When the faux pas was found in the first phase of polling in Maharashtra April 10, Tiwari said election authorities blamed the voters for failing to verify their names on the electoral rolls in the past six months.

The problem was also witnessed in the second phase of polling April 17 and is likely to be seen in a much bigger way in the upcoming April 24 election, he said.

Tiwari urged polling authorities to permit all those eligible voters who possess a valid election I-card to vote in the April 24 polls for 19 seats.

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