The government may soon issue a rule linking Aadhaar with voter lists, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said, adding that sharing Aadhaar details would be voluntary for voters, but those who do not would have to give “sufficient reasons”. Chandra, who left office on Saturday evening, said the poll panel had played a key role in intensifying vaccination campaigns in five states where assembly elections ended in March this year to ensure the safety of voters and those involved in the election. Coronavirus.
In an interview with PTI, he said the two major electoral reforms that took place during his tenure as CEC were the provision of four dates instead of one year for linking 18-year-olds as voters and linking Aadhaar with the voter list. Duplicate entry in the voter list. ” Previously, the cut-off date was only January 1 of each year. We have made it clear to the government that this reform is very necessary and that these people should be enlisted as soon as they turn 18. Now with this reform, these people will have four dates a year to register after reaching the age of 18. This reform has been pending for the last 20 years, ”said Chandra.
The four cut-off dates for registration are part of a bill passed in Parliament a few months ago to allow Aadhaar to be linked to the voter list. Until now, those who turn 18 on or before January 1 will be able to register to vote. Those 18 years of age on or after January 2 will have to wait one year to register as voters. However, once the rules are in place, young people will be able to register to vote on four different dates each year.
“The second biggest reform is linking Aadhaar to the voter list to check for fake entries. This will correct the voter list. This will make the voter list stronger, ”he said. Asked when the rules would be announced by the government, Chandra said, “I think soon because we have already sent a draft proposal in this regard. We have also sent the forms that need to be changed and they are with the Ministry of Law. Soon, I think they will be cleared. We also need to tone up our IT system. ” Whether the sharing of Aadhaar details would be voluntary, he replied in the affirmative. “It simply came to our notice then. But voters need to give sufficient reasons for not giving their Aadhaar number. The reasons may be lack of Aadhaar or non-application for one reason or another which they may think. I can’t think of any other reason, ”said the CEC.
Chandra thought that sharing the Aadhaar number would help the EC to correct the voter list. This will ensure that the poll panel will be able to provide more services to the voters through its communication system, he added. Booth on their phone number (details): We should know clearly that he / she is the right person, ”said Chandra.
Asked about the biggest challenge he faced as CEC, he said the “hardest” was the five state elections and the conduct of various by-elections during COVID-19. “Because as these elections approached, we never thought Covid would be more intense. Suddenly, we learn about the origin of Omicron. We had to prepare because nobody knew much about this variant. ” So all of a sudden, we had to be ready to secure the voting process and the electoral machinery, “he added.
During this time, the EC has intensified the vaccination process and ensured booster doses for its polling staff, including security forces. ” We had to take unusual steps to stop the campaign in physical form. Initially, we said that door-to-door campaigns with only five people would be allowed and more emphasis would be placed on digital campaigns, ”recalls Chandra.
“We have regular meetings with health secretaries and chief secretaries of states. We have asked them to intensify their immunizations and we are keeping a close watch on them every week. We were giving very graded feedback on our campaign methods. We slowly opened it. At the start of the election campaign, vaccination rates were very high in five states and voters were given first or second dose according to protocol, ”he added.
Chandra replied in the affirmative when asked if the EC was equally responsible for intensifying vaccination campaigns in five states. “Obviously. In states where it was lower, especially in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur, we have reviewed the situation and asked the key sectors and health secretaries to intensify the vaccination drive.”
“Everyone should have taken at least the first dose. If the first dose is given, the second should be given. In Uttar Pradesh, the first dose coverage was 100 percent. Vaccination rates have also increased in Punjab and Manipur. We have taken every possible step to test the prevalence of Omicron during elections in these states so that voters and the voting process can be safe, ”he said.