Now, all 6 parties will be told about every name added to voters' list

Now, all 6 parties will be told about every name added to voters' list

Six political parties in Karnataka are keeping tabs, quite literally, on every single voter being added to the electoral rolls ahead of the Assembly polls.

In a first, the Election Commission of India is sharing Form 6 (application for inclusion of name in the electoral roll) data with political parties on a day-to-day basis, amid cries of foul play that ineligible persons are being enrolled as voters.

"Five national parties and one regional party are getting copies of all Form 6 applications we receive in every Assembly constituency. This is being done to ensure transparency," said Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike special commissioner (elections) Manoj Kumar Meena, who has been appointed to the newly created post to expressly deal with concerns surrounding electoral roll revision.

The five national parties are Congress, BJP, CPI, CPI (Marxist) and the Bahujan Samaj Party and the regional party JD(S).

"Earlier, Electoral Registration Officers (ERO) would only just put up notices outside their offices inviting objections to the inclusion of a particular person as a voter. This time, all six political parties are being informed, so that they don't later object to inclusion of names in the electoral rolls," Meena said.

The BJP and the JD(S) have raised serious concerns over the electoral roll revision and both parties have petitioned the ECI to take steps. For instance, the JD(S) has demanded linking of voter IDs with Aadhaar to weed out bogus voters. The BJP has highlighted irregularities in the inclusion of new voters, citing examples of the KR Puram constituency where people are being enrolled allegedly without proper documentation. The saffron party has also claimed that Bangladeshi immigrants are being enrolled as voters.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar has said that complaints pertaining to inclusion of ineligible persons as voters were highest in the Bengaluru municipal limits. "If non-Indians are being enrolled, it is a serious issue and police cases will be filed. We haven't come across any such discrepancy so far," Meena said. He also pointed out that deleting a voter from the electoral roll was easier said than done. "We'll need ECI permission to delete even one name."

According to statistics from the office of the CEO, Bengaluru currently has 87.98 lakh voters. So far, Karnataka has 4.96 crore voters.  Authorities have approved 16.68 lakh applications for inclusion of names in the electoral roll.  The final electoral rolls will be published on February 28.