Guwahati, June 12: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today raised the pitch for restoring the voting rights of genuine Indian citizens dubbed doubtful (D) voters, drawing the attention of both the Election Commission and the Centre about the plight of such individuals.
During his candid and no-holds barred speech at the inaugural session of the seventh and final consultation on electoral reforms held here this morning, Gogoi said the matter should not be kept hanging. “Some mechanism has to be evolved so that those who are genuine Indian citizens get the right to vote,” he said.
The D-voter issue has been in the limelight since a Gauhati High Court order of March 24 directed the Election Commission to ensure that the “D” category citizens, whose names were pending in the Foreigners Tribunal, were not allowed to vote. The court had also directed the commission to ask the district superintendents of police to collect names of such individuals and submit those to the respective electoral officers. Around 12,000 such names got added to the previous total of 1.47 lakh D-voters.
Gogoi told the gathering, which included Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi and Union law minister M. Veerappa Moily, that the government was “facing the music” because a perception has gained ground that Dispur had issued the order. “Though it was a court order, we faced the music. After due process, it is found that most of these D-voters turn out to be genuine Indian citizens. How can we deprive the right of such persons to franchise?” he asked.
Later Gogoi told the media, “How can an enumerator decide who is a doubtful voter? How can you go on depriving the rights of genuine Indian citizens? This has to be decided by a competent authority and through due process.”
Moily appreciated Gogoi’s concern over D-voters saying it was an “important” issue while Quraishi said the Foreigners Tribunals should expedite the cases referred to them.
By raising the issue within and outside the Assembly, Gogoi, independent observers said, was trying to counter the AIUDF, which is also going all out to convey to the affected that the government was not serious about resolving the issue. The AIUDF, which had won 18 seats in the Assembly elections, is basing its attack on the government on the D-voters issue.
Full Article: CM raises pitch for ‘D’ voters.