The finding of a fake ration card issued in the name of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in Thane district, only augmented the state's decision in passing an order mentioning that no fresh ration cards will be issued during the period of the forthcoming BMC elections.

The order that was circulated by the Food & Civil supplies department also stated that applications for new ration cards will be accepted during the election period, but no ration cards will be issued.

The department has also stressed that new ration cards cannot be used as a proof of identity to vote during the upcoming polls.

The edict also reiterates that a ration card should not be used as a basis for proof of residence, but only for the purpose of receiving ration under the public distribution system.

During a discussion held in the winter session of the state legislature in December, some members of the state council had demanded immediate measures to stop usage of bogus ration cards, which according to them is rampant during elections. Following the discussion, the Minister for Food & Supplies had assured them that no cards would be issued.

Why now?
When State Election Commissioner Neela Satyanarayana was asked about the order, she was apprehensive as to why such orders are issued during the elections.

Meanwhile, the election commission will be asking for more than one document, other than the ration card, from voters to verify their proof of residence, informed an official from the state election department.

42 lakh
No of bogus ration cards in Maharashtra, according to an RTI revelation last year