As many as 32 crore Aadhaar numbers have been linked to voter ID cards, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat said today. “So far, as many as 32 crore Aadhaar numbers have been linked to voters’ ID cards. Another 54.5 crore will be done as soon as we get a nod from the Supreme Court,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the 14th National Conference of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGO, here.
Asked how long it would take to link another 54.5 crore Aadhaar numbers, Rawat said “we did 32 crore in just three months”. Karnataka-based Mathew Thomas had moved the apex court in November challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar Act claiming that it infringes upon the Right to Privacy and the biometric mechanism was not working properly. Replying to a query on allegations of EVM tampering, Rawat said the commission will seriously consider credible complaints and resolve it.
Several opposition parties have questioned the reliability of EVMs used in recent assembly elections as they alleged that the machines were tampered with. On the use of totaliser machines for counting votes, Rawat said, “We can’t, because unless the rules are amended it cannot be done. The Supreme Court is already hearing the case.” On March 6, the apex court had sought EC’s response on a plea seeking counting of votes using totaliser machines instead of booth-wise counting. A totaliser is a device which allows votes cast in about 14 polling booths to be counted together.
Replying to complaints related to Karnataka elections, Rawat said the EC’s top most priority is to deliver free, fair and credible elections. To another query, Rawat said people can bring errors in the electoral roll to the notice of the commission for correction or review. “Continuous updation is on. If there are any mistakes, people can bring it to the notice of the commission, they will be corrected or reviewed,” he said. The electoral roll was published on February 20, he said.
Denying reports quoting him as saying that the dates for Karnataka assembly elections will be announced around April 15, Rawat said it would done at an appropriate time. “The announcement (of dates of Karnataka polls) will be made in front of the media at an appropriate time. So, wait for that,” he said. “If whatever is being talked in an interview is interpreted in a different way, one can’t really help,” he added.