l 1,19,559 persons tagged D-voters in draft electoral roll
GUWAHATI, Sept 30: After a long gap, the Election Department Assam has prepared a detailed database of Doubtful-voters (D-voters). This has been done with due approval from the Election Commission of India (ECI). As per the draft photo electoral roll published on September 15, there are 1,19,559 D voters in Assam.
The database has been prepared with the coordination of the district election officers. The Election department Assam carried out the database work even while preparing the draft photo electoral roll 2019. Once the final photo electoral roll is published on January 4, 2019, the number of D-voters might vary following the disposal of claims and objections.
The concept of D-voter was first used with respect to only Assam while preparing the electoral roll in 1997. There were then 2,20,209 D voters in the State. The number came down as the final photo electoral roll 2018 identified 1,25,328 D voters.
The tag of D-voter remains against the name of a person until a Foreigners Tribunal (FTs) declares the person to be an Indian citizen. There are 100 numbers of FTs functioning in Assam. At present there are 36 permanent FTs and 64 additional FTs for disposal of the pending cases.
Judges/Advocates have been appointed as the members of FT under the Foreigners Tribunal Act, 1941 and Foreigners Tribunal Order 1964 as per the guidelines issued by the government from time to time.
Preparation of the D-voters database holds significance especially as the update process of the National register of Citizens (NRC) is currently on. The database would be a vital tool to mark out the D-voters whose names would not figure in the final NRC.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) had given an excess time of 15 days to the Assam election department to prepare the draft poll roll 2019. In the other States of India, the draft poll roll 2019 was published on September 1,2019 itself.
An analysis of the draft photo electoral roll 2019 in Assam shows that Sorbhog LAC has the highest number of D-voters (6,987) followed by Jonia LAC (5,322) – both from Barpeta district. Dhekiajuli LAC comes in the third place with 4,791 voters.
District-wise, Barpeta has the highest number of D-voters (19,739) followed by Sonitpur (16,755).
A comparative analysis shows that there are less D-voters in Upper Assam. Sibsagar district has no D-voters. Nine LACs have also shown zero ‘D’ voters: These are Haflong, Jorhat, Teok, Titabor, Amguri, Thowra, Sibsagar, Nazira, and Sonari.
D-voters can neither exercise cast votes nor contest any elections in Assam.