In MP fake voters ‘scam’, Sarjo Devi’s photo patched in 43 cards. BJP sees Congress propaganda

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New Delhi | Published: June 5, 2018 12:42:54 PM

The Congress party's allegation that at least 60 lakh 'fake' voters have been registered in Madhya Pradesh has given a fresh twist to the changing political dynamics in the state.

Madhya Pradesh, Indian National Congress, Congress, Fake Voter scam, Kamal Nath, Sarjo Devi, Bhojpur Assembly constituencyCongress Madhya Pradesh President Kamal Nath with senior Congress leaders Jyotiraditya Scindia, Vivek Tankha and Digvijay Singh come out after a meeting with the Election Commission of India at Nirvachan Sadan, in New Delhi, on Sunday, June 03, 2018. (PTI Photo)

The Congress party’s allegation that at least 60 lakh ‘fake’ voters have been registered in Madhya Pradesh has given a fresh twist to the changing political dynamics in the state where assembly polls will be held in November later this year. The party has claimed that multiple ‘fake’ voter identity cards have been issued in the name of a single person. In one instance, the list released by the Congress showed that 43 voter cards were issued in the name of Sarjo Devi, a resident of Samnapur Kalan village in the Bhojpur assembly constituency which is just 40 km from Bhopal.

An investigation done by Hindi news channel India TV found that the electoral list has Sarjo Devi’s photo patched in 43 voters cards with different names. When the reporter asked Sarjo Devi about the discrepancies, she said that she is unaware of the fact that her photo was used by the poll officials 43 times in different voter cards. “These cards can be of others, these are not mine. My name is Sarjo Devi,” she said.

The list shows that Sarjo Devi’s photo was patched in cards that has different names like Rani Bai, Savitri Bai, Bhuri Bai etc. “I am Sarjo Devi, wife of Santosh. Santosh’s father’s name is Mohan,” she stated.

According to former Union minister and senior Congress leader Suresh Pachauri, there are over 15,000 ‘fake’ voters that have been registered with the Election Commission in the Bhojpur constituency alone. He said that it was being done at the behest of the BJP. Pachauri had lost the seat in the 2013 Assembly elections to BJP’s Surendra Patwa by 20,000 votes.

Meanwhile, reacting to the Congress’ allegations, state Cooperatives Department Minister Vishwas Sarang said that it has become a habit of the Congress party to question the Election Commission. Terming it a propaganda of the Congress, he said, “Such kind of allegations are levelled only when you come to realise that that you will be defeated. I congratulate the Election Commission for taking swift action. Let the poll body investigate it, facts will make things clear.”

On Sunday, Madhya Pradesh Congress chief Kamal Nath and other party leaders had met Election Commission officials to provide evidence to support their claim that approximately 60 lakh ‘fake’ voters have been found in the list that was released in January by the poll body. Taking cognisance of the Congress’ complaint, the Election Commission constituted four different teams comprising two members in each. They have been asked to visit the constituencies from where reports of discrepancies have come to verify the facts. All teams will be submitting their report to the EC by June 7.

The EC has also issued showcause notices to concerned electoral registrations officers. Besides, disciplinary action has been initiated against three EC officials for alleged lapses in preparation of the voter cards in Maungali and Kolaras where bypolls were held in February. According to a report in The Indian Express, at least 12,000 incorrect entries were made in Kolaras and 1,500 in Maungali. The entries included names of dead, shifted and duplicate voters.

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