Political parties, including BJP, urge Election Commission to link voter list with Aadhaar to weed out duplicates

New Delhi: Some political parties, including the ruling BJP, urged the Election Commission on Monday to link Aadhaar number of voters with electoral rolls to weed out duplicate names, the poll panel said.

"Political parties urged the commission to link Aadhaar numbers with electors' detail for better electoral roll management," an Election Commission statement said after an all-party meet convened by it ahead of the Assembly polls in four states later in 2018 and the Lok Sabha polls due in 2019.

Seven recognised national parties and 51 recognised state political parties were invited for the meeting. Out of the total 58 parties, 41 attended the meeting.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

At least two Election Commission functionaries, who attended the meet, said, "25 percent" (nearly 10 parties) of the 41 parties, which attended the meeting, made this demand.

In a statement, the BJP said that it told the poll panel that immediate steps are required for maintaining voter list in alphabetical order, so that duplicate names can be deleted.

"Initiative could be taken for making a pan-India initiative. This could be successfully implemented if the voter registration is linked to Aadhaar," the BJP said.

In August, 2015, a Supreme Court order on Aadhaar card had put brakes on the Election Commission's project to link the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) (Aadhaar) number with voters' electoral data to check multiple entries in electoral rolls.

The commission had then asked its chief electoral officers in all states and Union Territories to "suspend with immediate effect till further orders" all activities to collect and feed Aadhaar numbers of voters as part of its National Electoral Roll Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP).

In its August, 2015 judgement, an apex court bench has made it clear that Aadhaar card will be optional for availing various welfare schemes of the government and no personal information of the holders of such cards shall be shared by any authority.

"The UIDAI/Aadhaar will not be used for any other purposes except PDS, kerosene and LPG distribution system," it said.

Political parties also expressed concern over paid news and suggested to make it an electoral offence to curb this menace, the statement said.

Seeking to provide a level-playing field for parties in elections, the Election Commission had proposed making paid news an electoral offence to provide a strong deterrent in a bid to stamp out the menace. But its proposal is pending with the law ministry since 2012.

Political parties also asked the commission that on the lines of Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR), free airtime to political parties should be provided on private media for electoral campaigns.

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Updated Date: Aug 27, 2018 23:28:23 IST

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