Even as Indians are gearing up to elect their next Prime Minister this month, city folks are being extra cautious about making sure their names are on the electoral rolls, especially after what happened to scores of voters in Hyderabad during the Telangana Assembly polls a few months ago.
Many people were shocked and disappointed to find their names missing from the voters’ list when they went to vote on December 07, 2018. Although Telangana’s Chief Electoral Officer Dr Rajat Kumar later apologised for the situation, several voters took to social media to express their concern.
“It was very disheartening that we couldn’t vote the last time,” shares Tejaswini Pagadala, a voter from the city, adding, “To ensure that we get to vote this time, we registered to vote both online and offline. This time, our names are on the list. Also, we have already taken the printouts of our election slips.”
While the mismanagement during the Telangana Assembly polls was the Election Commission’s mistake, there is no denying that many people do not know the procedure to get themselves registered in order to be eligible to vote.
Says a city-based entrepreneur, Jyothi Surana, who couldn’t vote last time, “During the state elections, I had my voter ID and Aadhaar with me, however, I wasn’t aware that I needed the electoral slip as well.” She adds, “The confusion happened because there is some ambiguity when it comes to registering oneself online or at the local office. There should be proper campaigning and measures taken to ensure citizens are aware of the voting procedure.”
Senior IPS officer V.K. Singh, DG, Telangana Prisons department, whose daughter’s name was missing from the list, still isn’t very pleased about the situation. When asked what precautionary measures he has taken to ensure that all their names are on the voters’ list, the officer quips, “Nothing. I am not a supporter of such costly and distorted elections. I want to change this as I have changed the very concept of prisons.”
Meanwhile, with many coming out and slamming the Election Commission on the Internet, it seems like the authorities are taking every possible precaution to ensure that every citizen gets to exercise their vote this time.
“The Election Commission has a continuous programme called SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation programme) to make sure that every citizen (above 18) is a part of the voters’ list. Apart from this, there are a few purification exercises that the EC does to eliminate the names of people who have either migrated to other places or are no more. 60 lakh names were deleted during the purification exercises for the last elections. However, to ensure that this does not repeat, we gave the names of these voters to the Booth Level Officers (BLOs), who then called the voters to verify the details. We also took a statement from every BLO that this exercise was carried out very carefully,” explains Rajat Kumar....