New Delhi — In preparation for the forthcoming general election to the Maharashtra State 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 elections, the commission has taken extensive and extraordinary measures to enroll citizens of the state. While under the law, the elector needs to get his/her name included in the electoral roll and despite the Bombay High Court not finding any breach in the commission’s statutory compliance, the commission decided to take elaborate outreach and facilitation measures in the state in the interest of citizens’ smooth participation in election.
A special summary revision was conducted in the entire state during 9 June to 30 June including two special campaigns of two days each. During this revision, 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. Representatives of recognised 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 photo copy of the EPIC and without demanding any extra proof. Suo-moto deletions were strictly prohibited.
The 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 film actor 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 commission sent over 26 lakhs letters along with enrollment form (Form 6) to all such persons whose names were deleted in Mumbai, Thane and Pune. About 4.5 lakhs of these speed posts 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 16614 cases in Mumbai and 27542 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 commission is satisfied with the 1.32 lakh new applications already received till 31 August in this continuous updating process. It expects that citizens of the State will continue to avail this facility and do their part of the call to register themselves on time so that they can exercise their franchise in the forthcoming assembly elections.