Mohammad Shokeen and twelve members of his family could not vote on Sunday as their names were missing from voter’s list, though they have been living at the same address in Delhi for 32 years.
The 68-year-old, who lives with his family in South Delhi’s Sangam Vihar D Block, is not alone. There are many people like them who could not exercise their franchise in this Lok Sabha election.
“This is not acceptable. We have all the documents and have not changed our residence. We have been voting for so many years. Nobody came to our house to gave us the slips,” Shokeen said.
Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said he and his official team had been asking people to check their names in the voter lists for the last six months. Several awareness campaigns were organised. They should have checked their names in the list, before going to vote. If their names were missing, they should have filled the Form No.6. We were accepting the forms till April 13,” Mr. Singh said.
Sanjay Kumar (39), a resident of Tughlaqabad Extension, also rued that he could not vote.
“This is disgusting. I have an own house here and have been living since my birth. I have Aadhaar card, ration card, pan card and all other documents. I have been waiting for nearly three hours but my name is not there. I don’t know whom to approach,” Kumar said.
The ruling Aam Aadmi Party has been alleging that lakhs of voters’ names have been deleted, even as the poll body rejected its allegations.
“I came to vote early morning and waited for two hours while they tried to locate my name. I have been voting here for four decades, still my name was missing from the list,” said 66-year-old Ranbir Anand, who is a retired government employee living in New Delhi.
Firoz Ahmad, a resident of Chandni Chowk faced a similar problem.
“Three of my family members could not vote as their names were not there. They had to go back,” the 32-year-old cloth trader said.
Hardik Sharma, a first-time voter, was disappointed that he could not take a selfie with his inked finger as his name was missing from the voters’ list despite appearing in the voters’ list online.
“I do not know what happened. I do not know if I will be allowed to vote. The Prime Minister stresses that first-timers should vote in large numbers, but you have seen the situation yourself,” Sharma, a resident of Janakpuri, said.
Taking to Twitter, Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot said, “Voters unable to find their votes at polling booths. It is true that on a large scale, votes have been deleted. All these are resident of Jai Vihar I, Najafgarh.”
He asked what the ECI had to say about this and sought to know who was responsible for the voters’ constitutional right to be taken away like this.
“Vote deleted this time. All are regularly voting in the past.” Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain tweeted with images of voter identity cards of people whose names were not in the list.
Over 1.43 crore people in Delhi are eligible to vote in this election which will decide the fate of 164 candidates, of which 18 are women. There are 43 independent candidates.
While 2,54,723 voters are in the age group of 18 and 19, there are 40,532 electorate with disability who would be provided pick up and drop facility.