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Karnataka BJP MLA writes to EC, suggests series of electoral reforms

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    BJP MLA from Malleshwaram Constituency in Bengaluru, Dr CN Ashwathnarayan, has written a letter to the Election Commission and suggested a series of electoral reforms.

    Calling for relevant and progressive reforms in the electoral set-up, Dr Ashwathnarayan wrote that the EC should do away with the process of aligning electoral rolls updation with elections.

    Dr CN Ashwathnarayan

    "The system of updating electoral rolls should be a continuous process. Adding, updating, correcting and deleting details need to be an ongoing process. Presently, deletions are not happening despite Form-7 being mandatory, leading to duplicity of records," he wrote.

    "Firstly, we should replicate the good points of Aadhaar into the electoral process. Aadhar card is delivered by post. Similar process can be initiated for electoral rolls wherein once the application is filled online for inclusion into the voters' list, after due diligence, the voter's ID card can be sent by post to the applicant. It will be prudent to even contemplate linking Aadhar and the biometric to Voters' card, thus, making the latter too a unique identity. This could be the biggest step in making us, the world's biggest democracy, a better functioning one," he added.

    He further wrote that in today's age of technological advancement, there are over four lakh online applications pending to be processed, adding that officers do not have the wherewithal to dispose of pending applications.

    "Moreover, online system is not working effectively. There is a provision for people to register online for receiving notifications, for example, about change in booth etc. Very few voters are aware about this process. I recommend EC should undertake a massive series of awareness drive across the country to socialize this process. This will also take care of making voters aware about the frequent changes in election rules impacting them," he wrote.

    "Till the time the country doesn't move to a single period of conducting elections, as per the vision of our Hon. PM, Shri Narendra Modi, we should think about adding more manpower to EC during these elections as the current practice of deputing Tax officials, in the absence of EC's own staff machinery, is self-defeating," the letter further said.

    Dr Ashwatnarayan wrote that in order to make the common man's life easy, the Election Commission should revisit the painful process of documentation and verification of voters ID application. He wrote that many a times, documents needed to validate proof of residence and other such things are a cumbersome requirement.

    ["Siddaramaiah spending crores on PR, not development," BJP MLA Ashwath Narayan]

    "For example, rental agreement for address proof with 9 months' validity from the date of giving application is a retrograde step which accounts for a majority of application rejection. Then there are several cases of error in names on the documents submitted towards residence proof, such as, owner's name in electricity bill or tax paid receipt or khata etc should be matching. In reality, there are lakhs of cases wherein names do not match for no fault of the applicant. Hence, application gets rejected. Redressal mechanism and process of rectification is equally painful," he added.

    He also wrote that it's a well-known fact that the booth- level officials do not function sincerely. The Malleshwaram MLA wrote that the booth- level officials are supposed to visit each house to verify details.

    "This dereliction of duty has in recent times led to addition of bogus, fake voters. The Bangladeshi illegal immigrants have taken advantage of this lapse throughout the country. In the last couple of years, in my state Karnataka alone, lakhs of Bangladeshi illegal immigrants have managed to get their names added to the voters' list with active complicity of the local politicians belonging to the state's ruling party. There are several newspapers reports to validate my contention. I have enclosed a few of them for your ready reference. I also request you to kindly make a note of this issue and initiate necessary steps to rectify the same," he said in his letter.

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