With the conclusion of the second phase Lok Sabha polls, reports of missing voter names from voter lists have emerged from several parts of the country.
In the Srinagar constituency of Jammu and Kashmir, a section of Kashmiri Pandits found their names missing from the electoral roll. Special polling stations were set up in Jammu for the Kashmiri Pandits. Despite this, they were unable to cast their vote as a result of missing names.
Slogans were raised against the administration and the Election Commission by angry Kashmiri Pandits who were denied their rights.
Radha Krishen Bhat, a migrant Kashmiri Pandit said “We came to the polling station to cast our vote but found our names missing from the electoral roll. It is a denial of our right to vote”. Four members of his family couldn’t vote. He alleges that this is a conspiracy to deny their voting rights.
Rajiv Pandit, a local leader has asked for the EC to automatically transfer the votes of all displaced Kashmiri Pandits to the polling stations set up for them in Jammu, Udhampur, and Delhi.
A few names were missing from the electoral roll as a result of the wrong filling of Form M, admitted Pankaj Anand, Assistant Returning Officer (ARO), Migrants. He said that there were forms where the names didn’t match with the record and some of them didn’t have the name of the polling station. However, he also said that out of 4720 migrant voters, only 2100 persons voted in the elections.
Meanwhile, more reports of missing voter names have emerged from the state of Karnataka in certain parts of Mysuru and Bengaluru. “I voted at the same booth in the 2018 Assembly polls and I stay at the same house. But my name has been deleted,” said Nirmala S, a voter from Vidyaranyapura.
Reports say that the Marwadi and Jain communities of Bengaluru were targeted in this regard, several alleging a conspiracy against the trader community.
Several longtime voters have also found their names to be missing. Nupur, a resident of Bengaluru, had requested for a change in constituency along with her husband. She said “when we checked on the EC website it kept saying that our request was still under process. We decided to give it a shot and went to the booth. My husband’s name was there and mine was not”. Going back to her older constituency, she was shocked to find her name in the list but it was struck down by a deleted stamp.
The EC has shifted the blame on voters for not checking their names on the electoral rolls after having provided with ample time and announcements to verify their names.
A complaint has been filed with the Chief Electoral Officer by the BJP demanding a probe into the issue. About 50,000 to 60,000 have been deleted from each constituencies in Bengaluru, said the former Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok.
In the state of Tamil Nadu, 250 voters from Villupuram found their names to be missing and again the EC has blamed the voters for not checking the list. Reportedly, the voters had cast their vote for 2016 Assembly elections and were surprised to find their names to be missing.
The Villupuram District Electoral officer L Subramaniam has been quoted saying, “If they claim to have voters identity cards, then I have to verify the issue again. Right now nothing can be done for them since enough time was given for the voters to add their names to the list”.
The EC has constantly resorted to shifting the blame on voters for not checking their names. It’s only the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections and already there are plenty of reports of voters being denied the right to exercise their franchise.