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Number of people with dual voting rights has come down: CEO

A bike rally was organised by the Election Commission of India on the occassion of National Voters Day, in the city on Wednesday. (ST)

SHILLONG: While informing that the number of people having dual votes in the two different constituencies have drastically reduced in the State, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Prashant Naik admitted that there might be isolated cases where people are still having dual votes.

But at present, it is not a difficult task to establish people who have dual votes since they can directly go to the software where they can easily locate people who have their names in two different constituencies in the State, Naik said.

In fact, before the 2008 Assembly election when the Government warned of stringent action against those people who have their names in two different constituencies, people on their own have come to delete their names.

“I had seen hundred people in Sohra constituency on their own have come to delete their names,” Naik said on the occasion of the National Voters Day observed here along with the rest of the country.

When asked about dual voting by electorates residing along the disputed areas in Meghalaya-Assam border, Naik said that as of now, he is yet to receive any information about dual voters along the disputed areas.

“If there are such cases then we would have to take up the matter with our Assam counterpart to ensure that the process of electorates registering as voters in both the neighboring states is stopped,” the CEO said.

It was reported in the past that residents along the Meghalaya-Assam boundary especially in the disputed areas have been exercising dual franchise in both Meghalaya and Assam during assembly elections conducted in these two states.

People residing in disputed areas between Meghalaya and Assam such as Block-I and Block-II in Ri-Bhoi and Jaintia Hills district respectively and other places along the inter-state boundary have been casting their votes in both the states for several years.

In the recent Assam assembly elections, voters from Patgaon, a village along the Meghalaya-Assam boundary in Ri-Bhoi district had cast their vote in polling stations under Guwahati West constituency.

Voters from this village also used to exercise their right to franchise in polling stations under Jirang assembly constituency in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya. They possess separate election photo identity card (EPIC) for Meghalaya and Assam.

While informing about the online system which has been introduced, he said that people can now delete their names through online application too.

According to the latest revision of electoral rolls as on January this year, Meghalaya has recorded a total of 13.75 lakh voters out of the total population of about 30 lakh.

“The number of newly registered voters till January 2011 was around 30,000 and till January this year, we have around 68,000 new voters in the State. By 2013 we expect the total number of voters to touch 15 lakh,” Naik added.

Meanwhile, as part of the national voters Day celebration in the city, a number of events including marathon, painting and essay competition were organised.

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