A day after thousands of Mumbaikars, including several prominent personalities, were left disenfranchised after their names were found missing from the electoral rolls, the BJP asked the election authorities today, to undertake an exercise to revise electoral rolls.
Prominent citizens who could not vote in Mumbai yesterday included HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani and Bombay Stock Exchange Chairman Ashishkumar Chauhan. Maharashtra BJP president Devendra Fadnavis said that many of them had cast their ballots during both general as well as assembly elections in 2009 and also carried valid voter identity cards. "Almost 90 per cent of the names deleted are of those who were considered traditional voters of the Shiv Sena and the BJP," he said. "How can the name of a person like Parekh, who has voted earlier be deleted," Fadnavis asked, adding that "Due procedure was not followed before deleting names and no intimation was given to those concerned".
Deletion of names on such a large scale is unnatural, Fadnavis said. "I heard about an employee of a company involved in electoral roll work offering to delete names from the list at the rate of Rs 300 per name," he said. "The Maharashtra chief electoral officer and returning officers of constituencies say that it is voters' responsibility to check if their names are present in electoral rolls. If that is indeed the case, then please let us know what is your (Election Commission's) responsibility," Fadnavis said.
BJP's candidate from Mumbai North East Kirit Somaiya filed a police complaint for "criminal negligence and conspiracy". "Over one lakh names were either deleted or simply went missing across Ghatkopar, Mulund and Bhandup in my constituency," he said.
Senior leaders of the Sena-BJP led opposition alliance in Maharashtra, including Uddhav Thackeray, Gopinath Munde and Ramdas Athawale plan to meet the Chief Election Commissioner to draw his attention to the issue of missing voters' names, Somaiya said.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's (MNS) candidate from Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency Bala Nandgaonkar, said that names of so many voters missing from electoral rolls is a "conspiracy hatched by the Congress and the NCP". "We will find out who all are behind the conspiracy," Nandgaonkar, who is MNS group leader in the Maharashtra assembly, told reporters. "We demand a CBI inquiry into the matter," he said.
The MNS leader said that he would lodge a complaint with Maharashtra Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Gadre and also demand that the poll panel rectify the lists immediately. Leader of opposition in the legislative council Vinod Tawde (BJP) asked Gadre and Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan today, to ensure that genuine voters are not deprived of voting rights again. "The poll panel should commence the work of correcting the electoral rolls," he said.
Citizens had to face problems amid reports that names of over six lakh voters went missing from the rolls during the third and last stage of Lok Sabha polls in 19 constituencies, he said.