CHENNAI: Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday conducted all-party meeting to create awareness on linking Electors Photo ID Card (EPIC) with Aadhaar card. As the Opposition AIADMK is facing factional fued with a volley of litigations pending before the courts, the ECI allowed the participation of both the factions of AIADMK led by former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS) and former chief minister O Panneerselvam (OPS) to represent the AIADMK.
While the EPS faction was represented by former Minister D Jayakumar and former Deputy Speaker Pollachi V Jayaraman the OPS faction was represented by former MLA Kovai AK Selvaraj. Even before the meeting commenced, Selvaraj reached the meeting hall in the Secretariat and sat in the place allotted for AIADMK. Then, Jayakumar and Pollachi Jayaraman reached the hall and sat next to Selvaraj but Jayakumar took the board reading AIADMK and placed it in front of him.
Then representatives of all the legislative political parties reached the meeting hall and the meeting which was presided over by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Satyabrata Sahoo commenced. In the meeting, the opinions of all the legislative parties on the idea of linking voter Id card with Aadhaar card was obtained and recorded.
ECI has launched the campaign to link EPIC with Aadhaar from Monday in which the voters will be given form 6B in which the details of card will be obtained from the voters. Sahoo held a meeting with all the district Collectors on July 6, this year, about the campaign and directed them to ensure that the campaign should be carried out without facing any bottlenecks. The campaign will be carried out till March, next year.
Meanwhile, Jayakumar, after the meeting, said that AIADMK is in favour of linking EPIC with Aadhaar card to weed out bogus entries in voters list. When asked about Kovai Selvaraj seating next to him and representing AIADMK in the meeting, Jayakumar replied that he had no idea who was sitting next to him and added that he and Pollachi Jayaraman represented the "original" AIADMK.
When Kovai Selvaraj was asked about the meeting he replied that Panneerselvam is the coordinator of AIADMK according to ECI records and he went to represent AIADMK headed by Panneerselvam. When asked about Jayakumar moving the AIADMK board Selvaraj replied that "silly men do silly jobs" and added that mature men will not take such things seriously.
However, Sahoo informed the media that the decision on who the original AIADMK will be decided only by the ECI officials in Delhi.
DMK opposes linking EPIC with Aadhaar:
Meanwhile, DMK Organising Secretary RS Barathi said that DMK does not support the plan of ECI to link EPIC with Aadhaar. "Purification of voters list needs to be carried out but it does not mean that voter ID cards should be linked with Aadhar. The Union government had already informed that there are five crore bogus Aadhar cards in India which means that people will have more than one voter ID card. There are 11 other ID cards that are accepted by ECI and they are linked with EPIC,” said Barathi.