The Pune district election office has directed all its electoral registration officers (EROs) to ensure that not only the names of prominent personalities present in the electoral rolls, but also they are flagged for easy identification.
The instructions are meant to avoid the flak the election office got during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls when several prominent residents of the city failed to find their names in the electoral rolls.
Deputy Election Officer Monika Singh said, “We have directed all EROs in the district to flag the names of parliamentarians, members of state legislative assembly, legislative council and other elected representatives, who are residents of the district. They have also been asked to flag the names of prominent personalities in the fields of art, culture, journalism, sports, judiciary and other sectors.”
“It is the responsibility of the ERO to ensure that prominent personalities in their respective electoral areas feature in the electoral rolls and their names don’t go missing,” she added.
The EROs are government employees who have usually served in the area for a few years, so they are expected to be aware of the prominent personalities living in the area, and ensure that their names are present in the electoral rolls.
Singh said the ‘flagged’ names would only be visible on electoral rolls available to booth-level officers (BLOs).
In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, actor and director Amol Palekar, his wife Sandhya Gokhale and then Police Commissioner Satish Mathur were unable to cast their votes as their names were missing from the electoral rolls.
Palekar, along with some NGOs, had filed a petition in the Bombay High Court, but the court refused to interfere in the case and instead urged voters to be ‘vigilant citizens’.
The district election office undertook a massive drive in the next four months and registered 3.15 lakh voters in the city, before the assembly elections were held in October 2014.