The stakes are high in 2019, and the EC must ensure that its credibility remains high.
The allegation that 60 lakh bogus voters could be on Madhya Pradesh’s electoral rolls is another challenge to the Election Commission’s credibility. The EC will be sending teams to the Assembly constituencies soon after the charges levelled by the Congress. It will have to clean up the rolls not just in MP but in all states that will go to the polls this winter before the general election in 2019. When several photos of the same person turn up under different names in different seats, rest assured there’s a major problem in MP. Also, the rise in the number of voters in some seats appears more than the population rise in the state.
Electoral rolls are a dynamic entity that change with first-time voters joining or people leaving the district or dying, and keeping the rolls accurate is a continuous process. While every allegation on EVMs needn’t be taken seriously as many come from sore losers, it’s the EC’s duty to be responsive to pre-poll complaints coming from major political parties that have been around long enough to know where the problems may arise. The stakes are high in 2019, and the EC must ensure that its credibility remains high. There’s no going back at this stage from India’s standalone EVM mode of elections but the EC has to ensure no complaints emanate about VVPATs as they offer a visible trail of a fair poll. It’s really up to the EC to clean up its act before next summer’s crucial general election.