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February 10, 2000
EC takes steps in Haryana to end bogus voting
The Election Commission on Thursday directed that all voters in Haryana, who have been issued Electoral Identity Cards, will have to produce these cards when they come to exercise their franchise for the assembly polls on February 22. The others will have to produce some documentary evidence to establish their identity.
Of the 1,11,09,568 people on the electoral rolls in Haryana, 97,77,534 have been issued with Electoral Identity Cards. The EC feels the state would give the nation an example in the successful implementation of the use of these cards, a press note said.
Haryana will also become the first major state in the country to use electronic voting machines on an extensive scale. For the assembly elections 45 of the 90 constituencies will use EVMs.
Since this is the first time in the country that the production of Electoral Identity Cards is being insisted upon, the EC will permit the odd electors who have not got cards to vote, provided their identity satisfies the Presiding Officer or the polling officers.
For this, the voter in Haryana will have to produce documentary evidence like ration cards, passports, driving licences, identity cards issued by the central or state government, public sector undertakings, local bodies or other private industrial houses, property or tax documents, pass books issued by banks and post offices, Kisan (farmers') pass books, electricity bills, chula tax bills or any similar document that establishes the identity of the owner.
A similar procedure will apply in respect of the person who has been supplied with the Electoral Identity Card but is not able to produce it for reasons beyond his control.
The EC noted that since the last six years when the programme to issue Electoral Identity Cards began, Haryana had made all possible efforts to see that all eligible voters obtained the cards.
It said it was not due to any lack of initiative of the administrative machinery that the voters left out did not get their cards but because these people were either dead or had moved out of the state.
The EC said it would press for the use of Electoral Identity Cards in Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Pondicherry, which are scheduled to go to polls early next year. In a 'historic step' to end bogus voting and impersonation,
Chief Election Commissioner M S Gill praised Haryana's record of issuing Electoral Identity Cards to 88 per cent of the electorate.
In 35 of the 90 constituencies, the cards have been supplied to more than 90 per cent of the voters. In Palwal and Ratia (SC) assembly constituencies, the percentage is above 95 per cent. More than Rs 10 billion has been spent from the national and state exchequers during the six years that efforts were made to provide voters with Electoral Identity Cards.
The Commission had even faced flak from the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India for the "huge expenditure" incurred by the programme without any corresponding benefit.
The step being taken in Haryana would not only end bogus voting and impersonation but enable genuine voters to cast votes, the EC said.
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