It was to be his sixth attempt at a political career. For 50-year-old Meer Layaq Hussain — a doctor who has contested six Parliamentary elections to date and filed a nomination for the 2012 Presidential elections — filing nominations for his first shot at the Assembly polls has been a harrowing experience.

After being denied the opportunity to file his nomination, on account of being late, his repeated appeals to the Election Commission (EC) fell on deaf ears. So imagine his surprise when just three days before the polls, he received a letter from the election office informing him that he was indeed contesting in the election. The letter does not mention either a symbol or a serial number; it merely informs him that he is a contestant.

Turned away from the election office on nomination day, Dr. Hussain complained thrice to the election office. “I had reached at 2.30 p.m., the records will prove. I paid my deposit of Rs. 10,000 and got a receipt for it. I filled out all my paperwork and during the final stages, they simply told me that it was too late. I was flabbergasted.”

Not one to be dissuaded easily, he complained to the State Election Commission, and sent a telegram of the complaint to the Karnataka Chief Justice. When he didn’t hear from either of them, he sent another complaint to the EC on April 25 and then on April 28. But there was no response. “Then when there is hardly a day left for campaigning, I receive this letter informing me that I may contest. What is the meaning of this? I have practically lost my opportunity.”

The doctor still thinks he may have a chance. However, without a symbol and a serial number, he is worried candidates may not be able to find him on the voting machine.

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