The Election Commission has said it has did find any substance in Congress’ allegation of about 60 lakh bogus voters in the electoral rolls of Madhya Pradesh.
The EC had set up two teams to verify the allegations, one team for assembly constituencies of Narela and Bhojpur and the other to check the voters’ lists of Hoshangabad and Seoni-Malwa, reported The Hindu.
Following the reports submitted by the teams, an EC official was reported as saying, “It seems the complaint referred to the figure of about 68 lakh duplicate entries that were identified by the Commission in 2016. Thereafter, the records have been corrected in most cases. The process is under way and by the Assembly polls, the remaining discrepancies are expected to be resolved.”
The report submitted by the committee to the poll panel on Friday states that while there were no fake voters, there were cases of double entries because voter lists were not updated after deaths, or after voters relocated to other areas.
However, even most of these double entries have been removed, the report said. The probe panel said that the number of double entries were 68 lakh in 2015-16 and this has come down to 7 lakh this year.
A week ago, the Congress submitted a complaint to the Election Commission, alleging that there are approximately 60 lakh fake voters registered in the voting list.
Congress state chief Kamal Nath, who led a delegation to the poll panel, had alleged that the voter lists were tampered with at the behest of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan-led BJP government.
The Congress had also submitted a list of the names, saying that it had conducted a survey in around 100 constituencies and found that people with the same name and same photos were enlisted in different constituencies.
Nath, while speaking to News18, had even claimed that the Congress would have won the previous Assembly election in MP had there been no fake voters. “We believe that 12 per cent of the voters are false. Last time the difference between BJP & Congress was 6-7 per cent. Had there been no false voters, the results would have been different,” Nath had said.
During the visit, one of the EC teams detected very small number of such entries, which are further being verified. “In one constituency, data pertaining to 20 polling stations was examined in three days. Our de-duplication software initially identified about 46,000 duplicate entries and on verification, the number went down to 2,442. Of these, a total of 2,397 entries were found to be genuine. In the rest of 44 cases, the team found that 12 voters had passed away and some had shifted residence,” media reports quoted an official as saying.
The official said the number of discrepancies was miniscule.
In Seoni-Malwa, the Congress alleged 2,442 entries were similar across polling stations in the same seat. The fact-finding team found that of these, 2,397 were genuine voters. The remaining 45 names will be deleted because they have either shifted or died. In Narela, 17,684 out of 22,252 entries cited by the Congress in its complaint found to be genuine. In Hoshangabad, all the alleged 552 incorrect entries were found unique. In Bhojpur, the commission found 29 out of the 36 cases genuine.
“The team also personally verified the cases of identical image case in AC (assembly constituency) and found that 449 such cases have already been verified and in 147 cases rectifications have already been carried out,” read the commission’s letter to the Congress, according to The Indian Express report. “…The allegation of large-scale entries of multiple voters in these four Assembly constituencies is not borne out,” it reported.
According to sources, the Election Commission will now write to the Madhya Pradesh Chief Election Officer, asking him to update the electoral roll immediately and to ensure that there are no repeated entries during the Assembly elections later this year, said a News18 report.