Need to cleanse voter’s list

By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 10/2/2018 12:17:46 PM IST

 It was quite interesting in a way, when media published report on the seven-day deadline issued by chairmen of six colonies and Gaon Buras (GBs) of Purana Bazar for all bogus voters under five polling stations to provide proof of their residence, failing which such names would be struck off the voter’s list. The people of the state in general fully support the effort towards clean election, at least in principle. If there are many factors that impede achievement of the lofty objective for clean elections; perhaps one of the most vital of them is the need to have a clean voter’s list. The six chairmen of the colonies under Purana Bazar have only testified to the major flaw in the voter’s list. Of course, after years of efforts, some measure of success can be claimed in this regard. It would be worthwhile to mention how the voter’s list has acted as the fulcrum of malpractices. In 2012, when the extensive revision was conducted sometime, doubts about the authentic of the rolls came true when some village(s) had more voters than the actual population. As per 2011 census figures the state’s population was recorded at 19,78,502 and the figure of the electoral roll was 11,63,388 or around 59% of the population. The question is whether the Election department had taken serious note of such matter(s) and fixed responsibility on those involved in preparation of the roll? Even the electoral rolls do not reflect the facts unless the process of eliminating ghost names from the rolls is effected. The high percentage registered in Nagaland in all elections, does suggest that either voters are the most enthusiastic among voters in India by unfailingly turning out in very large numbers or it could be due to rampant voting by impersonators. To suggest that voters are among the most enthusiastic would be too simplistic an explanation. Even if voters are enthusiastic, it is practically difficult for such a large number of voters beyond 70% to be able to cast their votes. Perhaps, the spirit of proxy voting or voter impersonation refuses to go away and continues to be a feature of elections in Nagaland. Even introduction of the Elector’s Photo Identity Card (EPIC) and webcasting in some polling stations has not dampened the spirit. It has been reported, that in many polling stations across the state, the head of a family was allowed to cast votes for the entire members. There were also reports, that in many villages, some persons designated to ‘vote’ as per the decision of the authority, had carried out the farce with impunity. So long a voter can only vote with the election identity card, it would serve the basic purpose of one- person- one- vote and practically eliminate proxy voting etc. Therefore, the much talked about reform of the electoral process in Nagaland should begin with voter identity card. The only way is to re-introduce voter identity cards throughout the state which is to be the sole basis for ascertaining the identity of the voter. This is one major issue that requires serious consideration. Citing the biblical principle ‘a good tree brings forth good fruit and a bad tree brings forth bad fruit’; the same can be applied to ensure that a clean voter’s list will facilitate ‘clean election’. Of course the poll officials on duty must ensure that this principle of one genuine voter for one genuine vote is enforced without fear or favour.

Launched on December 3,1990. Nagaland Post is the first and highest circulated newspaper of Nagaland state. Nagaland Post is also the first newspaper in Nagaland to be published in multi-colour.

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