Election Commission has no answer for crucial common voters

20 lakh voters name allegedly figure in voter lists of both Telugu speaking states.

Hyderabad: The State Election Commission (EC) is helpless regarding the 20 lakh voters whose names allegedly figure in the voter lists of both states. The large number of voters can easily swing elections, it is feared.

Sources said that since the Assembly polls have been concluded in TS, AP-origin voters would prefer to vote in their home state in view of the close race there rather than stay back and vote for the parliamentary elections here.

All major political parties have complained about the common names on voters lists but the EC did not verify the claims. An Election Commission said it would be impossible to do so at the ground level. They claimed that to avoid double voting, the Telangana State Election Commission had suggested elections being held simultaneously in both the Telugu speaking states.

In 2014, the Election Commission had conducted polls in two phases — on April 30 in the Telangana region and on May 7 in Seemandhra. This allowed some voters to vote twice, and also gave them time to erase the ink mark.

The YSRC, in its representation to the Election Commission and Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan last month, claimed that out of the 3.69 crore voters in the state, 16 per cent, or over 59 lakh voters, were invalid or duplicate. It claimed this number in September 2018 was 52.7 lakh. According to its analysis, 20,07,395 people have votes in both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

It cited the instance of one Shashi Kumar, wife of Krishna Murthy, whose name allegedly figured No. 100 in Booth No. 40 of Tirupati constituency in Chittoor district and No. 129 at Booth No. 256 of Jubilee Hills constituency in Hyderabad. In both cases, the list showed the same electoral photo identity card number, the YSRC said.

Speaking to this newspaper, Telangana state Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar said that after the EC had received representations from political parties, it had conducted field level verifications. He said it would be a herculean task to check common voters in both the states.

Asked whether the electoral data of TS had been cross-verified with the AP voter lists, he replied in the negative. He said the TSEC had recommended to the ECI to hold elections in a single phase in both the states, which had been accepted.

AP Chief Electoral Officer Gopal Krishna Dwivedi he was not available for comment.

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