Guwahati, Aug 1 (PTI) The total number of ‘D’ (Doubtful) voters in Assam has come down by 1.22 per cent to 1,01,107 in seven months since January this year, Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade said on Monday.
D-voters are those who could not provide evidence in favour of their Indian nationality.
According to electoral rolls as on January 5, the state had 1,02,360 D-voters – 38,496 men and 63,864 women, Khade said.
“This number has come down to 1,01,107 as on July 30 after revision of the electoral rolls. They comprise 38,001 men and 63,106 women,” Khade told PTI here.
He, however, said that the Election Commission has no role in deciding whether a D-voter will be able to vote.
“Deletion or regularisation of a D-voter is done as per orders of the Foreigners Tribunals and subsequent judgements by higher courts. If the legal system declares one as a foreigner, his or her name is deleted from the electoral rolls.
“If a D-voter is termed an Indian citizen by the judiciary, the prefix ‘D’ is removed from his or her name. This is how the number of D-voters is decreasing gradually,” Khade said.
The issue of D-voters is one of the most contentious topics in Assam’s political and social sphere.
Several elections have been fought and won over this single issue of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, who are initially marked as D-voters if their names are found in the electoral rolls.
The concept of D-voters was introduced in Assam in 1997 by the Election Commission. It does not exist anywhere in India.
During the seven-month period since January, the total number of voters in Assam increased to 2,38,25,522. The state had a total electorate of 2,37,10,834 people in January.
The Chief Electoral Officer said that the number of first-time electors in the age group of 18-19 years also went up to 6,05,422 by the end of July from 4,79,133 seven months ago.
The Election Department on Monday rolled out new user-friendly online voter registration forms for first-timers as part of a nationwide exercise.
Khade said that draft electoral rolls for this year will be published on November 9 and the final list on January 5, 2023.
“We are also carrying out polling station rationalisation. We have at present 28,205 main polling booths, excluding the auxiliary ones. The upper limit of each booth is 1,500 voters. Considering various parameters, this is being rationalised,” he added.
The Election Department also launched voluntary linking of Aadhaar numbers with voter card service from Monday.