23,000 voters’ addition ordered for Tamil Nadu by-poll

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

CHENNAI - The Election Commission (EC) Tuesday said around 23,000 voters have to be included in the electoral rolls in Tamil Nadu’s Pennagaram assembly constituency, where a by-poll scheduled in January was postponed.

Now, the by-poll will be held only after the voters’ list is updated.

“I am not in a position to say now when the electoral roll will be finally published and the election will be held,” state’s chief electoral officer (CEO) Naresh Gupta told IANS.

The EC is holding a meeting in New Delhi Wednesday about the arrangements for the by-poll.

The AIADMK had earlier demanded revision of Pennagaram electoral roll and a probe into large-scale deletion of voters from the roll.

AIADMK MPs met Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla in New Delhi Monday and submitted a memorandum asking for a probe for the deletion of 42,000 names from the voters’ list in the constituency.

On the other hand, MPs from the ruling DMK-Congress-VCK combine met Chawla last Thursday and urged him to hold the by-poll at the earliest.

Originally scheduled for Jan 20, the by-poll was postponed to February following representations from the opposition AIADMK, MDMK, PMK, Communist Party of India (CPI) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M). These parties contended the Pongal and Tamil New Year festivals fall during the campaign period and the assembly session would start Jan 6.

They also said the poll date had been announced in an undue haste within 21 days of the sitting legislator’s death.

The postponement necessitated revision of electoral rolls with Jan 1 as the qualifying date and the completion of 100 percent field verification.

The publication of draft electoral rolls Jan 5 had the opposition party AIADMK up in arms, alleging there was large-scale omission of names, a charge the ruling DMK as well as the Dharmapuri district collector refuted.

According to the CEO, had the poll been held in January — prior to the annual summary revision with Jan 1, 2010, as the qualifying date and the completion of 100 percent field verification — nearly 23,000 electors wouldn’t have been able to exercise their voting right.

As many as 32,770 persons had applied for inclusion in the electoral rolls, of whom 19,500 claims were found to be eligible. During the field verification, another 3,394 names were found missing from the voters’ list, taking the total number of names to be included to around 23,000.

Reacting to the EC’s announcement, AIADMK MP V.Maitreyan told IANS: “This clearly proves the electoral roll preparation machinery in the state is under pressure from the ruling DMK party.”

Filed under: Politics

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