The Election Commission will begin a campaign in Maharashtra from August 1 to encourage citizens to link their voter ID cards with Aadhaar numbers across Maharashtra, state Chief Electoral Officer Shrikant Deshpande said, according to ANI.
The official said that the linkage will help establish the identity of voters and authenticate entries in electoral rolls. It will also help to identify instances where a person has been registered as a voter in more than one constituency, or where a person has been registered more than once in the same constituency, Deshpande said.
Elections to 14 civic bodies in Maharashtra, including the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, are likely to be held by October, according to The Times of India.
On June 17, the Union government notified rules linking electoral roll data with Aadhaar. The move allows electoral registration officers to seek Aadhaar numbers of citizens who want to register as voters to establish their identity.
While the government has maintained that sharing Aadhaar details will be voluntary, several activists have expressed concerns that linking them with voter cards could lead to voters being excluded from the rolls and compromise the privacy of their data.
In March 2015, the Election Commission had launched a nationwide project to link Aadhaar to voter ID cards. A month before that, it had run a pilot project in Telangana. The project was stopped after a Supreme Court judgement in October 2015 that laid down limitations on the purposes for which Aadhaar could be used. Voter identification was not among the purposes.
However, during the project, state election commissions were found to have used data collected for other schemes without consent, a Scroll.in investigation in February 2019 showed.