In an online survey, 80 per cent people have supported the February 2015 move of the Election Commission to link voter ID with Aadhaar. The Supreme Court has stayed the notification.
A plea is being heard in the Supreme Court, where both the government and the Election Commission have filed their responses favouring linking of the Voter ID with 12-digit biometric Aadhaar number.
Now, in an online survey, conducted by citizen engagement platform, LocalCircles, around 80 per cent participants have supported the move to link Aadhaar number with the Electors’ Photo Identity Card (EPIC) records. They identified it as a step to check election fraud.
AADHAAR LINKING STORY SO FAR
In February 2015, the Election Commission issued guidelines for linking Aadhaar with voter ID. The Election Commission announced it as part of the National Electoral Rolls Purification and Authentication Programme (NERPAP).
The motive of the Election Commission was to ensure zero fraud in polling by eliminating duplicate voters. But, a few months later, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court, which in August 2015 ordered stay on the Election Commission’s move.
By the time the Supreme Court put a stay on the Election Commission’s notification, the poll panel had collected the Aadhaar data from around 31 crore voters.
In July this year, the Election Commission approached the Supreme Court seeking permission for collection of Aadhaar data of rest of the registered electors. On the other hand, speaking in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology PP Choudhary supported the Election Commission’s stand in the matter.
AADHAAR LINKING OF VOTER ID BACK IN NEWS
Aadhaar linking of Voter ID came back in news in November when BJP leader Ram Madhav claimed to have “heard” that the Election Commission linked Aadhaar to voters’ list on trial basis and successfully identified 50,000 duplications in one Assembly constituency.
Now, in the survey by LocalCircles, an overwhelming 80 per cent of 9,160 participants said that they supported Aadhaar linking of voter ID. Only 8 per cent opposed the idea.
Responding to a separate question on duplicate voting, a large number of participants identified it as a major problem area in the elections. Those supporting the Aadhaar linking of voter ID said that biometric-enable voting would make election more credible.
In a parallel survey, as much as 28 per cent said that they were sure about fraudulent voting in their respective areas during election despite the use of EVMs and claims by the Election Commission.
As of now, Aadhaar linking of bank accounts, PAN card, LPG connection, ration card and mobile phone number is mandatory. In some states, Aadhaar number has been made mandatory for birth and death certificates.
If the Supreme Court vacates the stay on the Election Commission’s notification, voter IDs will have to be linked with Aadhaar. It can be done through the national voters service portal (NVSP) or even by sending an SMS to 166 OR 51969 in the prescribed format – < EPIC_Number > < Aadhaar Number or by visiting a booth level office of the Election Commission.