Weeding out bogus voters among issues raised with EC

Weeding out bogus voters among issues raised with EC

Political parties in Andhra Pradesh raised various issues with the Election Commission of India at Vijayawada Monday, like the need to weed out bogus voters and ensuring a foolproof voters list without depriving eligible voters the right to exercise their franchise.

Opposition parties also objected to the distribution of post-dated cheques by the government to beneficiaries of various welfare schemes, saying it amounted to inducement of voters.

Parties also wanted the ECI to count at least 10 per cent of the VVPAT slips to ensure they tallied with the votes polled on EVMs. Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, Deputy Election Commissioners Umesh Sinha, Sandeep Saxena, Sudip Jain and top EC officials interacted with representatives of parties as part of their two-day visit to Andhra Pradesh to review the preparedness for the coming elections to the Lok Sabha and the state Assembly.

While the ruling Telugu Desam Party pressed for use of paper ballots or counting of at least 10 per cent VVPATs, the CPI(M) too wanted VVPAT slips counted for tallying with EVMs. Principal opposition YSR Congress leader K Parthasarathy alleged that there were about '39 lakh bogus voters' in the state and that the government was misusing official machinery to win the ensuing elections. Those voicing a negative opinion about the government in its own survey were being systematically being removed from the voters list, he alleged. "This is a major conspiracy by the TDP," the former minister alleged. CPI(M) state secretariat member Y Venkateswara Rao told reporters that they wanted the ECI to ensure a foolproof voters list in the light of large-scale missing of names in neighbouring Telangana in the recent assembly elections.

BJP legal cell convenor Jupudi Ranga Raju objected to the distribution of post-dated cheques to women members of Self Help groups, saying it amounted to inducement of voters. Raju said they requested the EC to order withholding of the cheques and also conduct an inquiry into the whole affair. They also complained about attacks on the residences of party state president Kanna Lakshmi Narayana and MLC Somu Veerraju and "threats" by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu that BJP workers would not be allowed to move in the state, he said.

Raju alleged that police had failed to take action, despite several complaints, including to the state DGP and added that it only gave rise to suspicion that police were functioning in favour of the ruling party.

CPI leader and former MLC J Wilson also complained to the ECI about the distribution of cheques to beneficiaries of government schemes. He alleged that a new system of 'buying votes with government money' has begun in Andhra Pradesh, that needed to be curbed.

Congress leader Sundara Rama Sarma stressed on the need to check spending of crores of Rupees' in the elections. Later, the ECI held a meeting with all district Collectors, Superintendents of Police and top police officials on various issues related to the preparedness for the elections, due in May.