Bangalore, Feb 6: Under fire from Central Election Commission (CEC) for its ''tardy'' work in updating the electoral rolls, in the backdrop of mid-term elections to be held in the state later this year, the State Election Commission (SEC) has completed a verification drive and the draft rolls would be released on February 14.
Speaking to newspersons here today, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) R Ramaseshan said the date of release had to be postponed by a week in view of enomorous exercise. However, the final electoral rolls would be released on March 10, as announced by the CEC earlier, he said. Mr Ramaseshan said the SEC had removed a whooping 51 lakh names from the old list and added 20 lakh new voters. Now the state had about 3.96 crore voters from the earlier 4.27 crore. It had come under fire from the CEC as well as some political parties for not removing more than 50 lakh ''excess'' voters from the list and Chief Election Commissioner Gopalaswamy, who was in the city last month, had instructed the CEO to complete the process and prepare the draft rolls by February seven.
''There was some negligence during the yearly verification exercise but now most of the mistakes have been corrected and names of almost all non-existent voters are removed and new voters added,'' he said.
The latest verification work was taken up again in lines with a elaborate mop-up operation with thousands of government employees making door-to-door visits in the entire state.
''The field verification is now over and data entry operations are on. We will come out with the draft rolls on February 14 and objections if any could be raised before February 22,'' Mr Ramaseshan said. The draft rolls would be available in government and local body offices and it would be provided to recognise political parties as well, he said.
Mr Ramaseshan denied that the deleted names were that of 'bogus' voters. ''All removals are genuine and they are the people who have either moved out to different places or were dead.
He said there were around 40,000 booths in Karnataka, and the SEC would appoint more than 45,000 staff, including 4,500 officers, to conduct the election.
The issuing of voter's identification cards would begin from February 14 and all those who did not have their voter ID card could get them in a week. So far, more than two crore voters had been issued the ID card in the state, he said.
It was an offence if any person had names in two places and all such cases had to be brought to the notice of his office. His office had initiated action against one person in Tumkur in this regard, he added.