An elderly couple staged a one-day hunger strike in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s Office here on Friday over non-inclusion of their names in the voters’ list for the parliamentary elections.
Gopalayya Koteyar (67) and his wife Sunanda Koteyar (62) said they had submitted their names under Form 6 for inclusion in the electoral rolls at the Booth Level Office at Herga Gram Panchayat in Manipal on February 6. They had provided all the documents required as per rules for the inclusion.
Mr. Koteyar said that he had met the officials, including Village Accountant Vasudev, Udupi Tahsildar Mohan Rao and Additional Deputy Commissioner Kumara to enquire if their names were included in the voters’ list on April 5.
But on the same day, the Tahsildar in a letter informed him that his (Mr. Koteyar’s) Form 6 application had reached the Udupi Taluk Office, but by the time the Booth Level Officer’s report reached the Taluk Office, the election process had begun.
Mr. Koteyar said that it was the fault of the officials that their names had not been included in the voters’ list. “ My wife and I are sitting on a hunger strike to draw the attention of the Election Commission on this issue,” Mr. Koteyar said.
After some time, Deputy Commissioner and Returning Officer Muddu Mohan, along with officials, met Mr. Koteyar and his wife and urged them to give up their dharna.
Mr. Mohan told them that he had initiated an enquiry into the matter and notices had been issued to the officials. “But it is not possible to include any names in the electoral rolls after the last date of withdrawal of nominations (March 29) for parliamentary elections,” he said.
The elderly couple was not satisfied by the reply of the DC. A team of officials again requested the couple in the evening to give up their fast. They finally broke their fast at 4.45 p.m.