June 04, 2005

India has 2.5 cr bogus voters



NEW DELHI: India, we are proud of boasting, is the world's largest
democracy. It turns out it is so large that the total number of
voters exceeds the number of those aged over 18 by some 25 million.

That's what a comparison of the age break-up of census data and size
of the electorate reveals. According to 2001 census, there were just
under 665 million people over the age of 15 in February 2001.

Three years later, it could only be these people who were entitled
to vote. In fact, given the fact that about 8 in every thousand
Indians dies each year and three-fourths of these deaths are of
people of 15 years or above, roughly 19 million of the relevant age
group should have died between the census and finalisation of
electoral rolls in February 2004.

This means there could not have been more than 646 million people
eligible to vote that year. Yet, the size of the electorate for the
2004 Lok Sabha elections...

... was 671 million. So what's happening? Are we looking at the
mother of all poll frauds?

To put the magnitude of bogus voters in perspective, consider the
fact that only 10 of India's 28 states have an electorate that is
larger than 25 million.

States like Punjab, Haryana, Orissa, Kerala, Assam, Jharkhand or
Chhattisgarh, not to mention the smaller ones, all have fewer voters
than 25 million.

A state-wise break-up of bogus voters throws up interesting results.
Uttar Pradesh leads with as many as 15.4 million of them, which is a
15.6% addition to what the number should have been.

In absolute terms, Bihar is next with 3.7 million and Karnataka
third with 3.5 million. However, in percentage terms, Karnataka is
actually worse than Bihar with 9.6 per cent additional voters to
Bihar's 7.6 per cent.

Orissa too has a high percentage of these 'spook' voters at 7.4 per
cent, while Madhya Pradesh has 6.4 per cent extra voters.

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