Missing names and mismatched photos compounded by erroneous revisions
When officers came round with copies of the electoral rolls recently, Vasudev P., senior citizen in Horamavu, was distressed to find that his name had gone missing.
His daughter P.V. Latha, an accountant at an NGO, was glad to see hers was included, but the relief evaporated when she noticed it was with someone else’s picture against it.
Cases like these are not uncommon, and the coming days are likely to see an escalation in the discoveries of the number of deletions, errors and mismatches in the electoral rolls.
Following the former mayor P.R. Ramesh’s revelation that there was large-scale deletion of names in the latest voter rolls compared to the 2010 Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) electoral rolls and the 2008 Assembly Election rolls, The Hindu spoke to a cross-section of voters to get a picture of the glitches in the process.
P.G. Bhat, a retired navy officer, knows these irregularities too well. Since 2009, he has been reporting on the matter and investigating the published voter rolls. In July 2012, he recalls, the voter list lost about 10 lakh voters in the 27 constituencies of Bangalore in the BBMP area alone, excluding Anekal.
Nature of deletions
Deletions can be under four categories: ‘R’ (repeat), ‘Q’ (disqualified), ‘S’ (shifted), or ‘E’ (expired). In cases of deletions, the majority seem to fall under the ‘S’ category.
Commander Bhat, whose own name has been deleted from the latest rolls, observed that a majority of the deleted voters were marked as shifted. “The first thing I did was to check my own street. The people I meet daily were deleted, marked as shifted.”
Ms. Latha says that while a repeat application has been filed, she cannot ferry around her 85-year-old father and 75-year-old mother to meet the needs of the process.
Thangavelu, a tailor in Sudhama Nagar, thanks his stars that in all his years in the city, he has not had much bad luck with regards to the voter rolls. But this time the officials have not yet come round the area with voter rolls to be checked: he has even visited the ward office at Hombegowda Nagar several times, only to be told that it hasn’t reached there yet.
The latest version of the entire rolls has been made available online. But not everyone has easy access to the Internet, points out Prithvi Reddy, who is with Smartvote, a city-based organisation working towards smoothening the election registration process. A public interest litigation petition filed in September resulted in the court ruling that those wrongfully deleted should be reinstated, says Mr. Reddy. While meetings with BBMP and Election Commission officers have been positive, there is still much to be done, he says.