December 9, 2018
A large chunk of electorate in Telangana was disenfranchised and could not exercise their franchise in the polling for assembly elections on Friday.
Thousands of voters expressed shock and dismay as their names were found missing from the voters lists at the polling booths when they went for casting their vote. Many prominent citizens, sportspersons, government and police officials, were among those who found their names missing from voters list despite possessing identity cards issued by the Election Commission.
“This is a surgical strike against democracy,” described a concerned civil society member who saw a sinister design behind the missing names from voters lists.
It may be recalled that the Congress party had made serious allegations that over 22 lakh votes were missing from the rolls and had sought the correction of the names before holding the elections.
Chief election officer Rajat Kumar was quoted by wire services as apologising for the mistake but could do nothing to rectify the omissions.
Activists in Telangana said the mass deletion of names from the voters lists was akin to a surgical strike against democracy and said that if this was allowed to pass, then it could lead to many such instances in future.
Chief Election Officer Rajat Kumar told media persons in Hyderabad on Friday evening promised to review the matter and revise the electoral lists before the forthcoming general elections in 2019.
The total number of voters as per the EC records this time were 2.61 crore as against the 2.83 crore registered voters.
In fact the Congress party had lodged formal complaints with the election commission over the missing names.
Among the missing names was of badminton player Jwala Gutta. She tweeted that she was unable to find her name in the voting list. “ Surprised to see my name disappear from the voting list after checking online!! ,” she tweeted. IPS officer T Krishna Reddy too took to twitter and facebook to record his grievance. “Today, I went to the Polling Station only to be told that my name is not there in the Voter list inspite of having a Voter ID card issued by ECI and a verification,” the senior officer tweeted.
He said he had been voting for the past 40 years. “Question is not verifying and finding a vote missing. Why should a vote go missing after verification by ECI ? after casting vote for last 40 years?This is my Right. Dont expect me to go on 4 legs and beg for my Right. Educated should protest against injustice,” Reddy further tweeted.
The Congress had alleged that close to 30 lakh voters names were missing. The Election commission had justified the deletion of names on account of people having multiple entries, those who migrated and those who died.
But it assured that it will surely look into specific complaints if they were brought to the election commission.
Telangana recorded a high voting percentage of 73, the highest so far. The opposition claims that this huge turnout would favour it as people had turned out in large numbers to express their anger against the TRS government.