The Congress today alleged that there were over 42 lakh duplicate entries in the voter list of poll-bound Rajasthan and urged the Election Commission to remove all inconsistencies and discrepancies to ensure free and fair elections.
A delegation of senior Congress leaders comprising former Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot, state PCC chief Sachin Pilot, CP Joshi, Avinash Pande, besides Vivek Takha, met the Election Commission officials and raised objections over alleged irregularities in the voters' list.
The Congress leaders also alleged that as many as 70 lakh voters had been added in voters' list from 2013 to 2018.
"... It would be imperative for the Commission to intervene and ensure preparation of a sanitised final electoral roll in view of the inconsistencies highlighted in the report to ensure a free and fair election in the state of Rajasthan.
"It is requested that the Commission sanitises electoral roll as published by the CEO, Rajasthan on July 31, 2018 and remove all inconsistencies, duplications and omissions to ensure that the same is correct and transparent," said a memorandum submitted by the Congress leaders to Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat.
They also sought directions to all state poll officials to conduct a physical verification of the electoral rolls.
Mr Gehlot said there were over 42 lakh names which were duplicate and the EC needed to rectify this error to ensure free and fair elections.
"This is a very serious issue. This is not a question of one state, it is about the entire country. It is to save democracy," he said, highlighting that each vote has its value.
He cited examples of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government falling by one vote and former Rajasthan PCC chief CP Joshi losing the assembly election by one vote.
Mr Tankha, who is the head of the Congress's legal department, said the party raised its protest over inaction on the part of the EC after it raised the issue of duplication of 65 lakh names in voter list of Madhya Pradesh.
He also said that the normal increase in voters in the last one year before elections is one to two per cent, but it has been abnormally high of 3-4 per cent in Rajasthan, which needs to be investigated.
"There are 42,08,841 duplicate voters in the list. How could you have hundred people with the same name, same gender, same relatives," he asked.
Mr Pilot alleged that as per the EC data, the duplicate names have same name, gender, father's name in constituencies across the state.
"We have asked the EC to look at the authenticity of the voter's list that has been so far provided on the website.
"The CEC said he will look into the matter, but we hope he does it within a time frame," Pilot said.
He also highlighted before the EC that there were a large number of cases in the state of more than 100 names on a particular address and asked the EC to investigate.
The Congress leaders requested the Election Commission to remove all such entries from electoral rolls of 230 Assembly constituencies.
The party also sought extension in the date from August 21, 2018, by any reasonable period, for filing of objections after perusal of the draft electoral rolls for all constituencies in Rajasthan.
Mr Tankha said the Congress has protested the EC providing data in image mode against the rules and not in text mode, after the party filed a complaint about 65 lakh discrepancies including duplicate and fake names, in electoral rolls in Madhya Pradesh.
The same electoral rolls were provided in text mode in Rajasthan, he said, wondering if there are two rules prevailing in the EC.