Around 30 lakh voters in Telangana and 25 lakh voters in Andhra Pradesh were left out of the electoral process by the end of the Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC) and Aadhaar linkage exercise taken up by Election Commission of India (ECI) as a part of the National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERP-AP) in April 2015, a non-profit organisation Swecha has claimed in a statement on 25 February.
The Swecha statement says that the exercise impacted the Telangana Assembly elections held in December 2018, primarily because of the Aadhaar-Voter ID linking pilot projects which were being carried out in Nizamabad and Hyderabad since 2014.
The Aadhaar-Voter ID linking under NERP-AP was suspended by the Supreme Court on 11 August, 2015, when it upheld the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. By then, around 3 million names were deleted from the electoral rolls.
It may be recalled that during the Telangana assembly polls, several voters had complained that their names were missing from electoral rolls.
Meanwhile, a Right to Information (RTI) response from the chief electoral office (CEO) validated claims that a large number of names were deleted from electoral rolls in Telangana in 2015. A LiveMint report confirmed that the response to the RTI filed by independent researcher Srinivas Kodali, then chief Bhanwar Lal had admitted before ECI in August 2015 that door-to-door verification was not conducted properly. Lal said that many complaints were received from people about block level officers not visiting their homes for verification of voter names in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) area during the Aadhaar linking process under EPIC.
According to data from the CEO’s office, there were 28.1 million voters during the 2014 elections in Telangana. The number dropped to 26.1 million by 10 September, 2018.
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Updated Date: Feb 25, 2019 13:18:14 IST