Gaurav Vivek Bhatnagar

Details in electoral rolls wrong

People get to meet ‘unresponsive’ staff at electoral offices

Even Leader of Opposition finds mistake in his electoral roll

NEW DELHI: With each passing day, lakhs of voters across the Capital are getting more and more jittery. The reason: they have still not received their voter identity card, or the details or photos published in the draft electoral rolls are not correct. Worse still, many people find themselves running into virtual walls of unresponsive staff when they visit the various election centres to get the errors in the electoral rolls rectified.

A resident of an East Delhi apartment found to his horror this past week that the photograph of a woman had been printed against his name in the draft electoral rolls. When he went to the designated election centre for a correction, he found the staff missing during public dealing hours. After three futile visits, he went across to the area election office next to the Fire Station on Narawana Road -- only to find all doors locked from inside and entry barred to visitors. The time: 2-30 on Friday afternoon.

“There are hundreds of people like me who are suffering for no fault of theirs. To rectify mistakes in the electoral rolls introduced by the election staff, they have to repeatedly visit the polling centre and the election office. But let alone a fruitful outcome, we do not even find people there to talk to,” said the aghast voter.

What is true of East Delhi is replicated almost everywhere in the city. R. Ramesh, a resident of Siddharth Extension, is still not sure if he will be able to cast his vote in the Assembly election due later this year. “I have been applying for my voter identity card for the last four years and every time the draft has wrong details in it – either father’s name, sex or address. And when I recently applied for a change of address, I was issued a form which no one is willing to accept at any of the polling centres here.”

Another local resident, D. Raina, found to her discomfort the photograph of her daughter-in-law printed against her name in the draft electoral roll. The elderly lady is now worried that she will have to do the rounds of the election offices all over again to get the error rectified.

Many discrepancies

The manner in which large-scale discrepancies have crept up in the draft electoral rolls has got both the Congress and the BJP worried. Delhi Congress president J. P. Agarwal said he had complained to the Chief Electoral Officer that the Booth Level Officers were not doing their job properly and precious time was being wasted in taking proof of age even from voters who were well past the age of 18.

He said while errors in computers were being blamed for the chaos, the fact remained that the computer cannot tackle issues like a name being spelt as J. P. Agarwal or Jaiprakash Agarwal as it would treat such entries separately. Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Jagdish Mukhi who found the photograph of a woman alongside his name in the draft electoral rolls said the BLOs in some places were not distributing the forms meant for correction of details personally and at times children were being used to distribute them. As a result, he said, “either people are not getting the forms or they are falling in the hands of wrong people”. “This could lead to creation of a large number of bogus votes.”