Shimla, March 21
Following an amendment to the Himachal Pradesh Municipal Corporation (Election) Rules by the government, the State Election Commission (SEC) has received around 9,000 applications for inclusion in the electoral rolls for the impending Shimla MC poll.
78K voters SO FAR
Before applications came in, we had as many as 78,000 voters. Now, the applications will be scrutinised before these individuals are enrolled in the electoral rolls. — State Election Commission official
“We had around 78,000 voters so far. Now, the applications will be scrutinised before these individuals are enrolled in the electoral rolls,” said an SEC official.
It may be mentioned that the previous government had also amended the MC Election Rules in March last year, which left only those individuals eligible to vote in the civic body poll who were enrolled as voters within the MC area for the Assembly elections too. Prior to that, Shimla residents could vote in the Assembly polls at their native places while being a voter in the MC too. The amendment has left nearly 20,000 voters ineligible to vote in the MC poll.
The latest amendment to the rules by the current government makes all “ordinary residents” of the Shimla MC eligible to vote in the election. While a few former BJP councillors are against the amendment, ex-Mayor Sanjay Chauhan, from the CPM, says the amendment has corrected a wrong that denied many the right to vote. “We had gone to the SEC against the amendment by the BJP government. Why should an ordinary resident of the MC area paying taxes and fees to the civic body be denied the right to choose his representative?” said Chauhan.
About the fears being raised that some ineligible individuals might get on the electoral rolls using this amendment, Chauhan said it was the duty of the SEC to ensure that only eligible persons get on the voters’ list.
Meanwhile, the final voters’ list will be published on April 6. “Even after the final electoral rolls are published, eligible people will be given a chance for a few days to enrol themselves by paying Rs 50,” the SEC official said.
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