Electronic Voting Machines
In picture: EVMs used in the first phase of Gujarat Assembly polls being stored in a strong room in Surat, Gujarat on Dec 10, 2017. [Representational image]IANS

The Election Commission (EC) on Sunday, June 3, ordered a probe into the electoral rolls of BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh after the Congress claimed that there are at least 60 lakh fake voters in the state.

To bolster its claim, the Congress said while the population of Madhya Pradesh has risen 24 percent over a certain period, the voter count has increased nearly 40 percent.

This was the latest in the series of allegations by the Congress, which has been unable to win a single major Assembly election on its own since 2014, barring Punjab in 2017.

The Congress and the Opposition parties have time and again claimed that electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the conducting of polls have been tampered with to favour the BJP. However, the EC has shot down all such claims, despite the Opposition parties' persistence.

Congress' claims

The Congress, in a memorandum addressed to the EC, claimed there were "glaring and shocking instances in the publishing of the electoral rolls" of Madhya Pradesh. It said this reflects "serious irregularities and mala-fide intent to manipulate the electoral rolls for political advantage."

The Congress memo, which runs into several pages, said: "To start with, the published figures of Madhya Pradesh have risen by world record figures of 40 percent, whereas the population has risen by only 24 percent and in rural areas despite the migration to urban and some semi-urban areas the figures have gone up by 30 percent. This in itself reflects the seriousness of the inaccuracies and irregularities in preparation of the electoral rolls."

It added: "To go even further, we are giving specific examples below of duplication /multiple entries /demographically similar entries in the electoral rolls which will exceed 60,00,000 in Madhya Pradesh."

Here is the full memorandum:

EC orders probe

The poll panel subsequently ordered a probe into the alleged irregularities in the electoral rolls in Madhya Pradesh, where Assembly elections are due later this year.

In a communication that the official Twitter handle of the Congress tweeted out, the EC is seen ordering the setting up of four teams to probe the issues.

The teams will look into the electoral rolls of the Assembly constituencies of Narela and Bhojpur under Bhopal, and Hoshangabad and Seoni-Malwa under Narmadapuram, aka Hoshangabad.

If these allegations do turn out to be true, they could mean a world of trouble for Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who is already beset with problems on the agrarian front. Farmers are already up in arms against him and the saffron party, to which he belongs.