Congress to con­tinue hunt for ‘fake vot­ers’ in MP

Cong to field ex­sp leader in MP, se­nior jour­nal­ist in Ch­hat­tis­garh

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - HTNATION - Ran­jan and Shruti To­mar let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

BHOPAL/RAIPUR: The Mad­hya Pradesh Congress is likely to field for­mer Sa­ma­jwadi Party leader Ar­jun Arya against chief min­is­ter Shivraj Singh Chouhan from Budhni as­sem­bly con­stituency. Arya, 34, joined the Congress on Satur­day in pres­ence of state chief Ka­mal Nath. The Congress had been look­ing for a for­mi­da­ble can­di­date against Chouhan, who has been win­ning from Budhni since 2006, and believes that Arya can con­fine Chouhan in his own con­stituency. “In Mad­hya Pradesh we can fight against the BJP’S mis­rule while be­ing a part of the Congress. He gave me his bless­ings,” he siad. In Ch­hat­tis­garh, an in­ter­est­ing con­test is on off­ing with se­nior jour­nal­ist Ruchir Garg likely to be party’s can­di­date against BJP se­nior min­is­ter Bri­j­mo­han Agar­wal from Raipur (south) as­sem­bly con­stituency. “My can­di­da­ture is some­thing which will be de­cided by the party. I am ready to per­form any re­spon­si­bil­ity given by the se­nior lead­ers,” Garg said, af­ter join­ing in pres­ence of party pres­i­dent Rahul Gandhi. Garg was ed­i­tor of Hindi daily ‘Navb­harat’ and had worked with some other Hindi pub­li­ca­tions from the re­gion. BHOPAL: The Congress said on Satur­day that it will carry on its work on the vot­ers lists to find out ex­is­tence of fake vot­ers in Mad­hya Pradesh. The Supreme Court had on Fri­day dis­missed Congress leader Ka­mal Nath’s plea for soft copies of the draft elec­toral rolls in text mode for­mat for the Mad­hya Pradesh As­sem­bly elec­tions in Novem­ber to avoid foul play.

“I don’t want to com­ment on the Supreme Court judg­ment but we will con­tinue to work on vot­ers lists to find out fake vot­ers as the BJP will rely on them to ma­nip­u­late the state as­sem­bly elec­tions”, said JP Dhanopia, state Congress spokesper­son. Polling in Mad­hya Pradesh will be held on Novem­ber 28 and count­ing on De­cem­ber 11.

Dhanopia said ac­cord­ing to their assess­ment there were at least 56 lakh fake vot­ers in the state. How­ever, af­ter the is­sue was raised, Mad­hya Pradesh’s chief elec­toral of­fi­cer V L Kan­tha Rao deleted as many as 24 lakh vot­ers from the lists in the past nine months. But there had been ad­di­tion of lakhs of new vot­ers to the vot­ers lists dur­ing the re­vi­sion of the vot­ers lists, al­leged Dhanopia.

“I fear names of many vot­ers who were dropped might have resur­faced in the lists dur­ing re­vi­sion. We will con­vey our ap­pre­hen­sion to the chief elect- oral of­fi­cer and point out those names which are iden­ti­fied as fake dur­ing our scru­tiny. It’s up to the ECI to take a de­ci­sion on our com­plaints,” he added.

Dhanopia claims that the deleted names were in­stances of those where names or pho­to­graphs had ap­peared twice or thrice in the lists, dead vot­ers, those who had mi­grated and names of those who don’t ex­ist at all. As per ECI claims, there are no fake vot­ers.

Ac­cord­ing to Rao, du­pli­cate pho­to­graphs of about one lakh vot­ers were de­tected and 7.5 lakh vot­ers were found dead dur­ing a scru­tiny car­ried out by the EC.

Af­ter the clean up, the num­ber of vot­ers in Mad­hya Pradesh (for the as­sem­bly elec­tions) is 5.03 crore. This is an in­crease of 37 lakh vot­ers in the list com­pared to the num­ber of vot­ers dur­ing the 2013 as­sem­bly elec­tions. Dhanopia said, “the in­crease of 24 lakh vot­ers in the past nine months is un­usual.”

Rao said, “though we re­leased the fi­nal vot­ers list on Septem­ber 27, we have also de­cided to ac­cept ob­jec­tions and sug­ges­tions for ad­di­tion of names till Oc­to­ber 30 as we don’t want to al­low any­one to raise the ques­tion on EC’S cred­i­bil­ity.”

State BJP spokesper­son Ra­jneesh Agrawal said, “Congress ob­jec­tions will con­tinue to pour in even af­ter their de­feat in as­sem­bly elec­tions. It’s a part of their strat­egy to at­tribute their de­feat to vot­ers’ lists and EVMS so that they could save their im­age in the eyes of the pub­lic.”

The Supreme Court dis­missed two pe­ti­tions on Fri­day—one de­mand­ing the vot­ers’ list from the EC in a text for­mat and an­other seek­ing the poll panel to ran­domly ver­ify at least 10 % Voter Ver­i­fi­able Pa­per Au­dit Trail (VVPAT) slips with votes cast on elec­tronic vot­ing ma­chines (EVMS).

KA­MAL HAASAN, ac­tor and founder of the Makkal Needhi Ma­iam

AFP FILE

Congress claims there are at least 56 lakh fake vot­ers in MP.

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