EC to probe Goans with Portuguese passports

“One of the political parties that met us complained that many people who are holding dual passports have not renounced their Indian citizenship and continue to be voters in Goa. I have asked the chief secretary and other officials to give us a situation report and an analysis of the case so we can take action,” said Quraishi.

The BJP, in particular, has been critical of Goans who have acquired Portuguese nationality but not given up their Indian passports.

Thousands of Goans have found work in European Union countries – more specially in the UK – by applying for a Portuguese passport. Very few, however, give up their Indian passports because it allows them the freedom of movement between here and the country they adopt for jobs.

Those born in Goa before the Liberation on December 19, 1961 are still entitled to Portuguese nationality.

The enrolment of a large numbers of migrant workers on voter rolls was also raised by political parties. “They said migrants who come here to work are enrolled as voters in two states. We warn voters about the consequences of dual registration,” the CEC said.
On the final leg of his review of the poll arragements in five states going to polls early next year, beginning with Uttarakhand in early February, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur and Goa, Quraishi conceded that the controversial issue of ‘paid news’ remained one of the bigger challenges before the commission because a large number of television channels are owned by politicians.

“Paid news is bothering everyone. We did manage to take action in Bihar where we issued 86 notices. Those involved owned up and had to account for it in the election expenditure,” Quraishi said. The Bihar action was effective and states that went to polls later had fewer cases reported. At the same time, there is little the CEC can do to haul up the media, he pointed out.

With 95 per cent of voters covered for the electors’ photo identity card (EPIC), the CEC said no other ID would be accepted for voting. From 70 per cent voters eight months ago, 95 per cent now have EPICs and the CEC is confident it will achieve 100 per cent coverage in the next two months.

The CEC will also in future provide EPIC holders with voter slips, which in previous elections was being distributed by candidates and political parties. Only CEC voter slips will be permitted, Quraishi said, and these would also be recognised as valid ID for voters.

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