The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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No rolls until revision is foolproof: EC

Calcutta, Feb. 4: The Election Commission will not publish the electoral rolls until it is fully satisfied with the revision now underway.

The publication of the rolls might thus be delayed beyond the scheduled date of February 22.

After having effected the biggest overhaul of the rolls in recent times, the poll panel has made it clear that a decision will be taken only after the 19 observers now touring Bengal return to New Delhi and submit their reports.

'We'll decide whether to send the observers again after we listen to their feedback on February 10. Depending on that, we'll decide whether to allow more time for the rolls revision,' a senior commission official said from Delhi.

The commission had at first said all claims and objections filed by January 24 should be disposed of and the final list published by February 15.

Then, realising the amount of work on its hands, the poll panel had deferred the date of publication by a week. Claims and objections filed till February 10 ' including those being submitted to observers during their ongoing tour ' will have to be settled before the rolls are published.

Over 10 lakh names are likely to be struck off the rolls by the time the revision is completed across Bengal.

Chief electoral officer Debasish Sen, however, said a further delay in the publication of the rolls is unlikely.

Individuals will be allowed to appeal to the commission for inclusion or deletion of names for a fortnight after the rolls are published. Political parties will not be allowed to make appeals at this stage. Beyond this period, individuals will have to approach district magistrates and electoral registration officers to get their names included or deleted.

'The drive to identify genuine voters is a continuous process,' Sen said. Over 7.5 lakh names, he added, have been deleted from the rolls following the election officers' scrutiny of complaints filed by political parties and death registers and door-to-door searches.

In Nadia's Haringhata, observer Amitabh Rajan lost his cool today when joint BDO Siddhartha Roy failed to show proof of any probe into a Trinamul Congress allegation regarding 35,000 ghost voters.

'You've only been able to say 'yes sir' and 'no sir'. Get the complaints verified in two days,' Rajan told Roy before leaving for Delhi. He will return on Monday.

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