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Bihar: Voters don't need photo ID cards
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | October 14, 2005 15:14 IST
Thousands of voters in Bihar will be able to vote without possessing photo identity cards in the state assembly polls, following an Election Commission order to allow voters without photo idenity cards.
The EC has changed its earlier decision of 'no photo identity card, no vote'. The office of chief electoral officer, Bihar, said in its order that voters not possessing photo identity cards would be allowed to vote by showing any of the 17 alternative documents permitted by the commission as adequate identification.
These documents include passport, driving license, PAN cards, identity cards issued by state or Central government undertakings or public limited companies.
Officials in the State Election Department admitted that if the EC adheres to its warning that no one would be allowed to vote without the cards, then a large number of people could be unable to exercise their franchise.
Official sources said that nearly 80 percent of 52 million voters in Bihar have photo identity cards. "With 80 percent already having cards, providing cards to the rest seems to be a tall order and therefore, the EC was forced to soften its stand," they said.
About 12 to 15 percent of the voters without cards are migrant workers or labourers.
In August, EC advisor K J Rao announced that voters without photo cards would not be allowed to vote. It was later supported by the Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon during his visit to state to review the poll preparedness.