Rules on linking Aadhaar with voter list may be issued soon: Chief Election Commissioner
New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said that the government can soon issue rules on linking the Aadhar card with the voter list. Chandra also said that the Election Commission played a key role in accelerating the vaccination campaign in five states where assembly elections were held in March this year.
He said that this was done to ensure that voters and those involved in election duty are safe from the corona virus. Chandra is retiring on Saturday evening. He said in an interview that the two major electoral reforms that took place during his tenure as CEC were providing four dates in a year instead of one to register voters over the age of 18 years and curbing fake entries in the electoral rolls. This includes linking Aadhar card with the voter list.
Chandra said that earlier every year January 1 was the cut-off date. We assured the government that this reform is very necessary and these people should be registered at the earliest as they have turned 18. With this improvement, now those people who have turned 18 years will get four dates in a year for registration. This reform was pending for the last 20 years. Till now people who turned 18 on or before January 1 could register as a voter. Due to this, people who turned 18 on or after January 2 had to wait a year to register as voters. But now once the rules are issued, young people can register as voters on four different dates every year.
He said that the second biggest reform is to link Aadhaar with the voter list so that fake entries can be checked. This will make the voter list clean and will become more robust. When asked when the government will notify the rules. Chandra said that I think very soon. Because we have already sent the draft of the proposal in this regard. We have also sent the forms in which changes are to be made and these are with the Law Ministry. I think they will be approved very soon. We have also strengthened our IT system.
When asked whether sharing of Aadhaar details would be voluntary, he replied in the affirmative. He said it would be voluntary but voters would have to give sufficient reasons for not giving their Aadhaar numbers. This could be due to non-availability of Aadhaar or not applying for it or any other reason. Chandra believes that sharing of Aadhaar number will help in making the voter list error-free. This will also ensure that the Election Commission provides more services to the voters through its communication system. When asked about the biggest challenge as a CEC, he said that the most difficult challenge was to hold assembly elections and various by-elections in five states during Kovid-19.
He said that because when the time of elections was approaching, we never thought at that time that the cases of Kovid would start increasing. Suddenly we came to know about the new form of corona virus, Omicron. We had to prepare because no one knew much about this form, so suddenly we had to make preparations to make the voting process and electoral system safe. During this, the Election Commission intensified the process of vaccination and gave booster doses to its election personnel, including security forces.
Asked whether the Election Commission was responsible for speeding up the vaccination campaign in the five states, Chandra said, “Definitely”. In the states where it was less, especially Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur, we reviewed the situation and asked the Chief Secretaries and Health Secretaries to intensify the vaccination campaign. He said that each person should have been given at least one dose. If the first dose is taken, then the second dose was to be given. In Uttar Pradesh 100% people took the first dose. The vaccination rate was also increased in Punjab and Manipur. We have taken all possible steps to prevent the spread of Omicron during elections in these states so that voters and voting process are safe.