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Why are so many names missing from poll roll in Mumbai?

Thursday, 17 April 2014 - 8:15am IST | Agency: dna
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Hundreds of potential voters are upset as they don't find their names in the final list of electoral rolls published last week. Most of these people had applied for the voter identity card, many physically and some online, during the special March 9 drive.

Sunil Kulkarni, a Malabar Hills resident, had visited the election office personally with all prerequisite documents to apply for voter I-cards for himself and his wife on March 5. Ironically, while his wife got her card a month later, Sunil received a letter saying his application had been rejected as he had failed to submit 'residence proof'.

"I gave six documents as proof of residence and other particulars. We furnished similar documents. Hers was accepted while mine was rejected. How is that? It's unfortunate, because even as the election commission conducts awareness drives to attract voters to the polling booth, its officers are rejecting people who genuinely want to vote," said Kulkarni.

In another case in Thane, first-time voters and batch mates, Abhishek Borwankar and Sarang Pandit, had gone to register their names on the same day carrying similar sets of documents. A month later, while Pandit's name appeared in the final list, Borwankar's was missing.

"It is so surprising. We both submitted similar documents at the same time. It's a clear case of callousness on the part of the authorities," said Borwankar, a student who feels let down for having been denied the right to vote.

The electoral rolls have also upset some of the political outfits and a few NGOs, who allege conspiracy, as names are either missing in bulk or have been added in bulk in several pockets in the city.

The election commission has also been flooded with complaints from political parties and NGOs, who find it intriguing that names in bulk are missing or added in certain localities.

BJP Mumbai North-East candidate, Kirit Somaiya, recently wrote to the EC alleging discrepancies in the voter lists in his parliamentary constituency. "My constituency comprises six assembly seats. As per the voters list, 50,000 new voters have been added in Shivaji Nagar assembly segment that comprises slums (here voters are believed to be Congress supporters). However, in the other five assembly seats, the names of 50,000 voters have been deleted. This is truly amazing," said Somaiya.

The All India Mili Council has also lodged a similar complaint. It says a large number of names of Muslims in Mumbra are missing from the list. It has demanded an inquiry. "As per our records, Mumbra has a population of 10 lakh, but only 1.3 lakh people here have voter I-cards," said MA Khalid, general secretary, All India Mili Council.

Reacting to the allegations, chief electoral officer for Maharashtra, Nitin Gadre, said all deletions had been done after following the proper process. "We made repeated requests to the people to verify their names. The lists were put up during summary revision in polling stations and on websites. A large number of names were also added in the process. If people have specific complaints, they can approach the collector's office," Gadre added.




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