All Himachal voters to have photo ID cards by year end

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Shimla: With over ninety-eight percent voters across the state having been issued electors photo identity cards (EPIC), the electoral office here by end of the year targets to cover the entire voting population, including all new voters, in the system to become one of the first states in the country to do so.

Welcoming new voters into the country’s electoral process, on National Electors Day, Manoj Kumar, chief electoral officer disclosed that in seven assembly constituencies – Kullu, Banjar, Ani, Gagret, Bilaspur, Naina Devi Ji and Pachhad, all voters had been provided EPIC coverage.

“While the state has an overall EPIC coverage of 98.55%, by close of 2011, the election commission of India targets to issue all eligible voters in the state under photo electoral rolls cover,” he said. “Himachal would be one of the few states in the country to do so, he added.

Expressing concern about falling number of voters turning up for parliamentary polls, Kumar cited that whereas the voting percentage in assembly elections in 2003 was 74.51%, in 2007 it was 71.61% but for the Lok Sabha poll in 2004 it was 54.75% and in 2009 it stood at 58.43%.

“To strengthen democracy, the voter’s needs to be equally concerned about national issues and need to be more participative in the parliamentary elections,” he said. Asking the new voters to use their duly earned voting right with responsibility, he added that it would help to provide a worthy leadership to the nation.

At release of the special summary revision of electoral rolls recently, the election commission’s draft publication had put the total count at 44,45,437 voters in the state of which 21,71,788 (48.35%) were females.

During the revision process as many as 78,700 new voters were registered and 56,461 deleted on account of death, shifting or dual registration; marking a net increase of 22,239 voters.

While Sulah assembly constituency in Kangra with 85,655 voters was the largest, Lahaul & Spiti with 21,405 had the least number of voters in the state.

Presiding over the function Justice VK Ahuja of HP High Court administered an oath to old and new voters about strengthening the foundations of democracy by exercising ones right to vote.

Editor-Reporter with Hill Post, Ravinder Makhaik as a journalist has for over two decades worked for India’s leading newspapers and television networks.

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