In preparation for the forthcoming election to the Maharashtra assembly and after taking note of news reports that some names were missing from voter lists in Mumbai and Pune during the recent Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission of India has taken measures to enroll citizens of the state.
While under the law, the elector needs to get his or her name included in the electoral roll and despite the Bombay High Court not finding any breach in the poll body's statutory compliance, the Election Commission decided to take elaborate outreach and facilitation measures in the state in the interest of citizens' smooth participation in the election.
A Special Summary Revision was conducted in the entire state between June 9 and June 30. Two special campaigns of two days each were held during the period and the draft electoral roll was published at all polling stations and on notice boards of Electoral Registration Officers. The roll was also displayed on the website of the Chief Electoral Officer along with search facility.
The representatives of recognized political parties were given copies of draft and final electoral rolls. A special relaxation was given for those whose names were deleted but were holding EPIC. Their claims were accepted only with a photocopy of the EPIC and without demanding any extra proof. Suo-moto deletions were strictly prohibited
The Election Commission took up a series of proactive measure to reach out to citizens under its flagship programme of Systematic Voters` Education and Electoral Participation. Advertisements were given in as many as 256 newspapers.
A massive audio-video campaign was taken up by making full use of All India Radio and Doordarshan and also through popular private channels across major cities and towns. A special information and motivation campaign was mounted involving popular film star Aamir Khan on popular radio and TV Channels. The campaign particularly highlighted the need for checking names in the final roll.
In another unprecedented move, the Election Commission sent over 26 lakh letters along with enrollment form (Form 6) to all such persons whose names were deleted in Mumbai, Thane and Pune. 4.5 lakhs of these speed post letters were delivered and the rest have returned undelivered as the address was incorrect or the addressee had left.
As a result of such massive efforts, around 20.3 lakh electors were enrolled during the Special Summary Revision in Maharashtra including 1.94 lakh in Mumbai and 2.66 lakh in Pune. Out of these, only 16,614 cases in Mumbai and 27,542 cases in Pune relate to those whose names were deleted earlier. The final roll has been put on the website of CEOs and all EROs.
In case any eligible citizen is still not enrolled they can include their names up to ten days before the last date of nomination of candidates for the forthcoming state elections. The Election Commission is happy that 1.32 lakh new applications have already been received till August 31, 2014, in this continuous updating effort. It expects that citizens of the state will continue to avail this facility and do their part to register themselves on time so that they can exercise their franchise in the forthcoming assembly elections.