Fatorda MLA Damodar Naik accused the government of deliberately manipulating the electoral rolls for the upcoming municipal elections in order to give an advantage to candidate supported by it and also warned that the reservation policy will be misused with the same intention.
Addressing media persons on Tuesday, he said the electoral being prepared by the Mamlatdars following a directive from the State Election Commission, are using the electoral rolls prepared by the Election Commission of India but with a ‘pick and choose’ attitude.
“Instead of the rolls being contiguous as the normal rolls are, the ones prepared for the municipal elections are disjointed,” he said while pointing out that clusters of houses from an area are registered in one ward and other houses from the same area, in another ward.
Worse still, according Damu Naik, residents of different floors of the same building are registered as voters in different wards.
While asserting that the rolls are a mere photocopy of the rolls prepared for the last municipal elections held in 2005, he said that all new voters, are being registered in wards at the whims and fancies of the authorities rather than enrolling them in the booths at which they had voted for the Lok Sabha elections.
“The rolls should be continuous with all residents of one geographical location being part of one ward instead of being distributed in different wards as is being done now,” he said and demanded that the rolls be revised by following a simple pattern of clubbing relevant booths of the Lok Sabha elections to arrive at the average voters per ward and accordingly demarcate the wards.
“For example, booth Nos. 1 to 3 as per the rolls prepared by the Election Commission of India be clubbed to be one ward and subsequent booths for subsequent wards,” he suggested.
He also demanded that the government and more particularly the Urban Development Minister annunciate the guidelines for reserving the wards for Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Caste and Other Backward Communities.
“In the absence of clear guidelines, wards will be reserved at random with the sole purpose of marring the prospects of a strong candidate not favourable to the ruling dispensation,” he warned. Citing an example, he said that if a particular candidate from the opposition is found to be strong in any particular ward, that particular ward will be reserved for a community to which the strong candidate does not belong.
He wondered whether the number of seats reserved for the various communities based on their population will be distributed in all the councils going to polls or whether it will decided based upon the population in that particular municipal council.
Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar who was also present at the briefing said if the government takes up the issue seriously and commences work immediately, there was no reason why the municipal elections cannot be held on the stipulated date.
“However, given the inefficiency of the present government, one cannot say what will happen,” he quipped.