New Delhi: The number of government employees, including defence personnel, registered as ‘service voters’ has seen a substantial increase since February this year and the maximum belong to the ministry of defence, EC data shows. As on May 6, when the fifth phase of Lok Sabha elections concluded, nearly 18 lakh employees had enrolled as service voters. In February this year, the Election Commission (EC) had said that a total of 16,62,993 service personnel have been enrolled as Service Electors in the country in the electoral roll 2019. In 2014, the corresponding figure was 13,27,627. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe Ministry of Defence led with 10,16,245 service voters, followed by the Ministry of Home Affairs with 7,82,595 and Ministry of External Affairs with 3,539, according to the latest data. The state police has a poor representation with 267 personnel registered as service voters. Personnel of the armed forces, central armed police forces and state police personnel deployed outside their constituencies are considered as service voters. Diplomats and other support staff serving in Indian embassies abroad are also service voters. A provision in the Representation f the People Act (Amendment) Bill, 2017, passed by Lok Sabha and pending in Rajya Sabha, relates to spouses of service voters. As of now, an armyman’s wife is entitled to be enrolled as a service voter, but a woman army officer’s husband is not. But the bill proposes to replace the term wife’ with spouse’, thus making the provision gender neutral. The wife of a service voter, if she is residing with him, is also entitled to be enrolled as a service voter in the constituency specified by that person.