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The Election Commission’s Delhi unit said the survey’s findings are not based on the latest list. Photo: Mint
The Election Commission’s Delhi unit said the survey’s findings are not based on the latest list. Photo: Mint

22% of names in Delhi’s voter list need deletions

Delhi goes to polls on 7 February and has a total electorate of 13.3 million voters spread across 70 constituencies

New Delhi: A fifth of the names in Delhi’s voter list require deletions because voters may have shifted residence, according to a survey released by Janaagraha, a Bengaluru-based non-profit organization, on Wednesday.

Janaagraha conducted the survey through market researcher TNS Global during December-January and approached an effective sample size of 2,971 people across eight assembly constituencies of Delhi. The Election Commission’s Delhi unit said the survey’s findings are not based on the latest list.

According to the findings of the survey, 22% of the total electoral roll in Delhi require deletions, which includes 21% of voters who have shifted. Other reasons for deletion include voters who have either deceased, have repeated names or are disenfranchised because they are in prison.

In addition, it said that address of an additional 11% of those surveyed could not be found and 7% had errors in their registration details.

“The role of voter list is a key influencer of electoral outcomes, specially in cities, and currently, this is not being acknowledged. As Indian cities grow even more rapidly, a poor quality of voter list will have a strong bearing on the quality of democracy," said Srikanth Viswanathan, coordinator of advocacy at Janaagraha.

Delhi, which goes to polls on 7 February, has a total electorate of 13.3 million voters spread across 70 constituencies and 11,763 polling stations.

Janaagraha’s findings are based on the revised rolls by the Election Commission updated till 5 January; however, poll officials say that the revision of the list continued till 21 January and so, the study may not give the correct picture.

Chandra Bhushan Kumar, chief electoral officer of Delhi, said: “The process of updation, which includes addition, deletion, correction and updation of the absent/shifted list, was on till 21 January."

However, Janaagraha’s Viswanathan says only 0.7% deletions were done by the Election Commission between 14 October and 5 January and “not much would have changed in the past two weeks".

But, according to experts, the debate goes beyond it, as they say that demand for deletions simply on the basis of a voter being shifted is not fair.

“It is the same as their survey in the previous elections in Delhi and there are not really any surprising findings. It is a fact that when people move, it is cumbersome to get registered to a new place and instead go back to the locality of their old home and vote. It is not like these people are disenfranchised and as long as they are not registered in two places, it does not call for deletion," said Karthik Shashidhar, a Bengaluru-based resident quant at not-for-profit Takshashila Institution and also a columnist for Mint.

“The numbers are correct and the survey seems fine but in a place like Delhi, it is known that it faces a lot of movement and migration and so the numbers under the ‘shifted’ category are bound to be high," he added.

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