“Yes you may have given us PDF copy of electoral rolls of MP but we want in soft copy as a word document as because in PDF we cannot search names as PDF is scanned copy. It is not easy. There is no ‘Cntrl-F’ option. For example, with one search we can know how many Abhishek Manu Singhvis are there and take action… But the thing is not that..The thing is if you can give the electoral rolls of Rajasthan in a word document, why not of MP? We are one country one electoral system, what are you hiding?” Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi who appeared for MP Congress leader and petitioner Kamal Nath to EC lawyer
The issue of around 60 lakh duplicate voters in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh resulted in heated arguments in the Supreme Court between senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi representing the Congress and the lawyer for Election Commission.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan gave the counsel for Election Commission time till September 10 to take instruction as to why a word document of electoral roll of Madhya Pradesh cannot be given to the Congress when a similar document of Rajasthan had been provided.
“What is the problem in giving word document? If you can give in Rajasthan, why not in MP ? Take instructions and get back”, justice Sikri told the counsel for election commission
At the outset, the lawyer for EC said a detailed reply to the AICC had been given and copies of electoral rolls had been given but the fact was being suppressed by Singhvi.
Singhvi replied: “Yes but we want in soft copy as a word document as because in PDF we cannot search names as PDF is scanned copy. It is not easy. There is no ‘Cntrl-F’ option. For example with one search we can know how many Abhishek Singhvis are there… But the thing is not that..The thing is if you can give the electoral rolls of Rajasthan in word document, why not of MP? We are one country one electoral system, what are you hiding?”
“In MP 60 lakh duplicate voters were found by us. EC themselves admitted 24 lakh duplicate voters. Today it is very crucial when the margin between winners and losers are so narrow”, argued Singhvi.
“Why is he arguing? Why cannot he give word document it is my right”, Singhvi added.
The EC lawyer replied: “If we give in a word document it can be tampered..there is some secrecy we cannot disclose everything”, but the court was not convinced.On August 23 the Supreme Court had sought a response from the Election Commission of India on pleas of Congress leaders Kamal Nath and Sachin Pilot alleging duplication of voters in the voters’ list in poll-bound Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The bench issued notice to the ECI and the state election commission of MP and Rajasthan and posted the matter for further hearing today.
During the hearing, senior advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for Nath and Pilot, had said that Nath had conducted a survey on his own cost in Madhya Pradesh and found that there were over 60 lakh duplicate voters in the voters’ list.
He said there was a similar situation in Rajasthan where large numbers of duplicate voters have been found.
In his plea, Nath has also sought random verification of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines in the upcoming MP assembly polls.