Chandra, who left office on Saturday evening, said the poll panel had played a key role in intensifying vaccination campaigns in five states where assembly elections ended in March this year to ensure the safety of voters and those involved in the election. Coronavirus.
In an interview with PTI, he said the two major electoral reforms that took place during his tenure as CEC were the provision of four dates instead of one year for linking 18-year-olds as voters and linking Aadhaar with the voter list. Duplicate entry in the voter list.
“Previously, there was only a cut-off date of January 1 of each year. We made it clear to the government that this reform is very necessary and that these people should be enrolled by the age of 18. Now with this reform, there will be four dates. One year for people to register. This reform has been pending for the last 20 years, “said Chandra.
The four cut-off dates for registration are part of a bill passed in Parliament a few months ago to allow Aadhaar to be linked to the voter list.
Until now, those who turn 18 on or before January 1 will be able to register to vote. Those 18 years of age on or after January 2 will have to wait one year to register as voters. However, once the rules are in place, young people will be able to register to vote on four different dates each year.
“The second biggest reform is linking Aadhaar to the voter list to check for duplicate entries. It will refine the voter list. It will make the voter list stronger,” he said.
Asked when the rules would be notified by the government, Chandra said, “I think soon because we have already sent a draft proposal in this regard. We have also sent the forms to be changed and they are with the (law) ministry. We also need to protect our IT systems. ”
Whether the sharing of Aadhaar details would be voluntary, he replied in the affirmative. “It will be voluntary. But voters will have to give sufficient reasons for not giving their Aadhaar number. The reason may include not having Aadhaar or not applying for any other reason. I can’t think. For any other reason,” the CEC said.
Chandra thought that sharing the Aadhaar number would help the EC to correct the voter list. This will ensure that the poll panel will be able to provide more services to the voters through its communication system, he added.
“If we know the voter more clearly, we can provide more services such as when the election will be held and booth (details) on their phone number … we should know clearly that he is the right person.” Dr. Chandra.
Asked about the biggest challenge he faced as CEC, he said the “most difficult” was to conduct elections in five states and several by-elections during COVID-19.
“Because as these elections approached, we never thought Kovid would be more intense. Suddenly, we learned about the beginnings of Omicron. We had to prepare because no one knew much about this form.
“So all of a sudden, we had to be ready to secure the voting process and the electoral machinery,” he added.
During this time, the EC has intensified the vaccination process and ensured booster doses for its polling staff, including security forces.
“We had to take unusual steps to stop the campaign in physical form. Initially, we said that door-to-door campaigns with only five people would be allowed and more emphasis would be placed on digital campaigns,” Chandra recalled.
“We have regular meetings with health secretaries and chief secretaries of states. We have asked them to intensify vaccinations and we are keeping a close eye on them every week. We are responding very graded to our campaign. We are slowly opening it up. Vaccination rates were very high in five states and voters were given first or second dose according to protocol, ”he added.
Chandra replied in the affirmative when asked if the EC was equally responsible for intensifying vaccination campaigns in five states.
“Of course. In states where it was particularly low, such as Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Manipur, we have reviewed the situation and asked the key sectors and health secretaries to intensify the vaccination drive.
“Every person should have taken at least the first dose. If the first dose is given, the second should be given. In Uttar Pradesh, the first dose coverage was 100 per cent. The percentage of vaccinations in Punjab and Manipur. So that the voters and the voting process can be safe, “he said.