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Were private agency paid Rs 300 per voter to add, delete names in Maharashtra? BJP says so

Tuesday, 29 April 2014 - 9:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

In a startling claim, state BJP president Devendra Fadnavis has alleged that a private agency involved in adding and deleting voters' names from the electoral list approached an MLA and a senior political leader in Maharashtra and offered to add or subtract names for Rs300 per voter. An estimated 2 lakh people found their names missing from the voters' list when elections were held in the city and parts of the state on April 24. Fadnavis says a similar thing may have happened in other parts of Maharashtra too.

"Employees of a Hyderabad-based agency, which was given the task of addition and deletion of names, approached an MLA and a senior leader from North Maharashtra and Pune and offered to add or delete names of citizens from the voter list. The public representative and the leader do not belong to my party. However, I believe what the leaders are saying is true as they are people with credibility," Fadnavis told dna. He said he is waiting for evidence before he approaches the Election Commission. "I need to have evidence to substantiate my allegations. If the leaders agree to give an affidavit, we can take up the matter further," he said.

Maharashtra chief electoral officer Nitin Gadre is amused with the allegations. "The election registration officer (ERO) is the final officer on matters of addition and deletion of names. It is the ERO who engages the services of an agency in carrying out the exercise of deletion and addition of voters. The agency does not decide which names have to deleted or added... it only handles the software part. Only the ERO decides which names have to be deleted and that is done only after following a procedure mandated by law. The names are deleted after following all procedures," he said.

BJP's North East Mumbai candidate Kirit Somaiya alleged that 50,000 voters were missing from the list in Ghatkopar assembly segment and filed a police complaint against the Election Commission officials. He also claimed that 47,000 names were added to the voters' list in the Shivajinagar-Mankhurd assembly segments in the North East parliamentary constituency without following proper procedures.

Earlier, the state BJP had alleged that the names of about 1 lakh voters were deleted from Pune and had demanded repolling in the city. Similar complaints came from Nagpur and Amravati too.

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