New Delhi: Two Congress members on Friday openly expressed differences in Rajya Sabha over the existence of bogus voters in the electoral roll, leaving others amused.
P Bhattacharya (Cong) alleged during Question Hour that there were several instances of bogus names being included in the voters list, especially in the border areas of West Bengal, where "the list is replete with foreign names."
He said in a particular instance, names of 46 voters were mentioned in a single holding number.
His party colleague, M S Gill, a former Chief Election Commissioner, immediately countered him saying the allegations were misplaced as the electoral rolls were revised every year after proper verification. Besides, the voter identity cards eliminated instances of bogus voters.
Bhattacharya shot back at Gill, saying "I totally disagree", much to the amusement of members from both Opposition and Treasury benches with some of them even looking surprised at the open display of differences.
Responding to Bhattacharya, Law Minister Sadananda Gowda said "it was not correct to say that incidence of bogus voters is on the increase in the country".
However, whenever such incidents are reported to the electoral registration authority, remedial measures are taken, he said, adding that the Election Commission enrolls voters after visiting houses and carrying out proper verification.
The Minister said efforts were also being made to link voter ID cards with Aadhaar cards so that authentication of voters was doubly assured.
"A national electoral database is also being planned so that intra-state duplicate or multiple registration of electors can be identified and removed," the Minister said.
However, he also acknowledged that there were "some instances" when homeless people registered their names in the voters list, but said such cases were done after proper verification as they cannot be denied the right to exercise their franchise.
EC is also using specially designed 'de-duplication software' to identify possible duplication or repeated entries to ensure deletion thereof.