Voter registration process to be intensified in Maharashtra – Chief Election Commissioner
Election Commission has said that it is making all out efforts to ensure proper revision of electoral rolls ahead of the Assembly elections in Maharashtra. The Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said in Mumbai that “the Commission wants all eligible citizens to participate in the election process by becoming duly registered voters”. He was addressing a press conference along with Election Commissioners H S Brahma and S N A Zaidi, after holding review meetings with the Maharashtra state machinery.
Mr Sampath said the Commission is seized of the matter of missing names in Maharashtra and the same is being investigated. He said, new voter registration drives are being held all over the state and over 19 lakh new applications have been received. The CEC also informed that the voter registration period has been lengthened and new voters can now register upto 10 days prior to the filing of nominations.
The Chief Election Commissioner said the registration of new voters is still low in the state and informed that the Commission would intensify the SVEEP initiative to create awareness about voter registration. SVEEP –i.e Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation employs formal and informal communication initiatives to spread awareness about voter registration and electoral participation.
Mr Sampath said the Lok Sabha elections have proven that urban apathy is a myth and even in Mumbai, the voting percentage has gone up from 39% to 54%. “We want to take it even further” he added. CEC said Maharashtra has a total electorate of 8.06 crores and Photo Identity Cards have been issued to over 92% of the voters.
Meanwhile, the political parties have petitioned the Election Commission to commence distribution of voter slips earlier than the present norm of five days before the polling day. The CEC said their demand is being considered.
The Election Commissioner Mr Brahma admitted that the distribution of voter slips during the last Lok Sabha elections was not completely successful. “It was only 35 per cent in Maharashtra and this time they want to make it above 80 per cent” he added.
During their two day visit to Maharashtra the three member Election Commission held discussions with concerned departments of the state government, field officers, police, Income Tax Department etc. They also met with the representatives of political parties and heard their views.
The CEC said that the dates of assembly elections in the states of Maharashtra, Haryana and Jharkhand will be announced after taking into consideration, weather condition, school exams, festivals etc.