Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora on January 20 said those excluded from Assam’s updated National Register of Citizens (NRC), if their names are on the final electoral rolls, can vote in the assembly polls likely to be held in April-May.
The updated NRC under the direct supervision of the Supreme Court was released on August 31, 2019, excluding the names of 19,06,657 persons. A total of 3,11,21,004 names were included out of 3,30,27,661 applicants.
The CEC cited a Union home ministry notification of August 29, 2019 that clarified that the exclusion of a person’s name from the NRC does not amount to his or her declaration as a foreigner. “Since the people, excluded in the NRC, have their names in the final voters’ list, they can exercise their franchise in the elections,” he told the media in Guwahati.
Meanwhile, the final electoral list in Assam on the basis of January 1 as the qualifying age, was published on January 18. Assembly polls are to be held on the basis of the final electoral rolls, which have enlisted a total of 2,29,92,505 voters including 1,12,34,579 women.
Compared to the final photo electoral roll of last year, the state has registered an increase of 2.46 per cent voters in this year’s final voters’ list.
Series of meetings in Assam
Arora, accompanied by election commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar and senior officials, arrived in Guwahati on January 18 and during the three days held a series of meetings with the political parties, police nodal officers, election related regulatory agencies, district deputy commissioners and police officers, state home secretary and other senior central and state officials to review the poll preparedness.
The EC also held meetings with Assam chief secretary Jishnu Baruah, director general of police Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, and chief electoral officer Nitin Khade.
The full bench of the EC left Guwahati for Kolkata on January 20 and during its three-day stay there would hold a similar exercise about the West Bengal assembly polls.