The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the central government and the Election Commission on a PIL seeking to address the problem of namesakes eating into votes of main candidates by inclusion of photograph of the contesting candidates on the EVMs’ balloting unit.
A bench of Chief Justice R.M.Lodha, Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman issued the notice as petitioner Akash Gahlot told the court that the problem of namesakes has taken epidemic proportions in the just concluded general elections.
Gahlot, in his PIL, said that it was the 2004 general election in which party strategists realised the potential of namesakes as a tool against rivals in a close contest.
Since then, namesake candidate have been eating into the vote share of candidates from mainstream parties. The namesake menace worries the parties since this causesA confusion among the voters, he said in the PIL.
“Though they are never seen campaigning, the result show that many of them had polled more votes than candidates of smaller parties,” the PIL said.
Citing an instance from just concluded Lok Sabha election, the PIL petitioner said that Mahasmund Lok Sabha constituency in Chhattisgarh, where Bharatiya Janata Party’s Chandu Lal Sahu faced Congress’ Ajit Jogi, had 11 candidate with similar names. Eight were Chandulals, three were Chanduram and at least 10 of them were Sahus.
The BJP candidate won getting 503,514 votes as against the Congress nominee’s 502,297 votes but the other Chandu Lals got 20,255, 12,308, 10,797, 7,091, 5,497, 4,718, 2,268 votes respectively.