Mumbai: As many as 19.31 lakh applications have been registered so far as part of the ongoing summary revision of electoral rolls in Maharashtra and voters would have the opportunity to enroll themselves until the last date of filing of nomination papers, the Election Commission of India said here on Tuesday.
The Election Commission led by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath concluded its two-day visit to review poll preparedness in Maharashtra. The EC held interactions with election officials, state administration and political parties.
Addressing a press conference here, Sampath said that the Maharashtra state electoral office has been asked to communicate constantly with voters even after summary revision ends on July 31.
"Those left out in the summary revision can register until the last date of filing of nomination papers for which they would have to apply ten days before filing of nomination papers. Voters should also continuously keep checking the voter list," he said.
Sampath said that the Election Commission has asked the Maharashtra state electoral office to give adequate publicity to summary revision of the electoral list.
He said that all 26 lakh voters whose names were found deleted during the Lok Sabha polls are being sent individual communication through Speed Post about registration once again.
"Form 6 is being sent to them if they wish to register again. The forms will be dispatched to all by the end of this month," he said.
Sampath said that voter apathy in urban areas continues to persist.
"We are not satisfied with the 54 per cent turnout in Mumbai during the Lok Sabha elections though it was the highest ever voter turnout," he said.
Sampath said enrollment of voters in the age group of 18
years to 19 years in Maharashtra is less than 20 per cent.
"We need to reach out to the youth through educational institutions and hence the campus ambassador programme would be further expanded," he said.
Sampath said gender disparity in Maharashtra among voters is five per cent as compared to less than two per cent in the country.
"We also want to reach out to defence personnel and government officials on poll duty through postal ballot. The Election Commission will take pro-active measures," he said.
Sampath said that state poll officials had been asked to review basic minimum facilities in polling stations. He said that directives have also been issued to officials, to ensure equitable distribution of campaign facilities.
"Expenditure control monitoring will be done strictly. District level committees will be asked to keep a close watch on paid news," he said.
When asked about the demand to include live telecast of speeches of candidates as paid news, Sampath said identification of paid news is done by district committees.
"What is legitimate propaganda, how much of it is legitimate broadcast and what part can be treated as paid news would have to be examined," he said.
Asked about when would election dates be announced, he said that the Election Commission had taken views of political parties about dates of polling.
"We will consider factors involved in fixing dates like examinations, rains, festivals and announce the poll schedule at the appropriate time," he said.
He said that there are a total of 8.06 crore registered voters in the state of Maharashtra.
Election Commissioner H S Brahma said that the Election Commission is doing its best to reach out to voters whose names were deleted during the recent Lok Sabha polls.
"However we were told that 60 per cent of the postal mail
we sent, were returned, because voters were not found to be living at the given addresses. We appeal to voters who could not vote last time to contact the district collector`s office and register," he said.
When asked about former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan`s paid news case, Brahma said, "We have registered strong objections in our (Election Commission`s) show cause notice issued to him (on Sunday) and we are awaiting his (Ashok Chavan`s) response to it".