After EVM row, Cong says BJP has new plan for rigging Madhya Pradesh polls

Senior Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia addresses a press conference as Congress Madhya Pradesh President Kamal Nath looks on, in New Delhi, on Sunday, June 03, 2018 
After levelling allegations of tampered electronic voting machines across polls in the country, the Congress has made another shocking accusation regarding electoral fraud. The Grand Old Party has accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of trying to influence the upcoming Madhya Pradesh Assembly election by enrolling close to 6 million (60 lakh) fake voters in the state's voters list.  

 
Responding to the allegations, the Election Commission of India (EC) has ordered a probe into the matter. EC teams will reach the state, which is slated to go to polls later this year, on Monday to look into allegation levelled by Congress. 

Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath has alleged that these names "have been deliberately registered" in the voter rolls, adding that his party's allegations were not over "administrative negligence" but about "administrative misuse" by the BJP. Kamal Nath on Sunday led a Congress delegation to meet EC officials over the allegations.     

What exactly is the Congress accusing the BJP of? 

Kamal Nath said that the Congress has "given proof to the EC" that the voters' list of Madhya Pradesh is "fraudulent". The state party chief has also said that the Congress has carried out its "own enquiry in 100 constituencies". (Read more here)  

According to Nath, the Congress has found cases of one voter being enlisted in different constituencies "with the same name, address and father's name". According to the Congress leader, "this cannot be any mistake".

LIVE: Press briefing by Madhya Pradesh PCC President @OfficeOfKNath. https://t.co/KtHLNuzQTG

Congress Live (@INCIndiaLive) June 3, 2018

If true, what would be the impact of fake voters on Assembly polls? 

Congress MP Jyotiraditya Scindia provided some figures that can tell us the magnitude of the alleged irregularities and what impact they could have had in the even that they were true and not caught out. (Read more here)   

Scindia said that there are 50 million (5 crore) voters in the state, alleging that 12 per cent of them "are fake". That's right, a whopping 12 per cent.  

This alleged figure is important as according to the Congress leader, the difference in vote share between Congress and BJP in the last Assembly election in the state was just nine per cent. 

Assuming that the Congress' allegations are true, had these details not surfaced, the opposing side would have clinched a resounding win in Madhya Pradesh irrespective of the will of the people.      

"This has been done by the BJP. How is it possible that population increased by 24 percent in 10 years but the number of voters increased by 40 percent? We scrutinised lists in all constituencies. One voter is registered in 26 lists, and there are similar cases in other places too," said Scindia. (Read more here)  

What does the Congress want the EC to do?

Congress leaders have requested the EC to set up a special monitoring mechanism to remove all the "multiple" and "demographically similar" entries. They have also urged the poll panel to inform all the national political parties on a weekly basis about the status of the identification of such voters at least at the district level. (Read more here)  

Further, the Congress has demanded strict action against the returning officers for their alleged involvement in coming up with such "fraudulent" electoral rolls and also said that the EC should not deploy them on poll duty in the future.  

"The officers who produce the second corrected list should also give an affidavit or a certificate along with the correct list," Scindia said.

The Election Commission of India has issued instructions to the Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh to look into the irregularities in the voter rolls pointed out by the Congress Party. pic.twitter.com/Ewhejmkyyx

Congress (@INCIndia) June 3, 2018

What is the EC doing about Congress' allegations?

1) The EC on Sunday formed four teams to look into allegation levelled by Congress that millions of bogus voters were registered in Madhya Pradesh. (Read more here)   

2) The two-member teams will verify the electoral rolls in the Narela, Bhojpur, Hoshangabad, and Seoni Malwa Assembly constituencies. 

3) The teams will start their probe on Monday and submit their report by June 7. 

4) The terms of reference of the teams formed by the EC are as follow: Enquiring into each specific issue raised in the complaint, finding out the "alleged fake voters' name, if any", to find out "how did it happen", and fix the responsibility to initiate appropriate action. 

Are there any previous allegations over MP polls?  

While the numbers being cited by the Congress are shocking, the allegations are not the first of their kind. Earlier in February, the Congress had gone to the EC complaining about discrepancies in Madhya Pradesh's voters' list. The party had asked the poll panel to take necessary steps for ensuring free and fair elections. Subsequently, in April, the state's chief electoral officer Salina Singh had said that 6 million (6 lakh) names were removed from the state's voter list. (Read more here)  
With agency inputs


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