(From left) Kunda Patade and Sajda Sheikh were told they'd already voted when they reached the election booth
Imagine showing up to your local voting booth to cast your vote for the municipal elections, but being told that you've already voted. This is the fraudulent nightmare many in the city were treated to on Tuesday. In areas like Kannamvar Nagar in Vikhroli East, voters complained that their names had been deliberately deleted from the list.
Sujit Thakur, from Ward 118 in Vikhroli said, "I voted during the state and Lok Sabha elections, but when I reached with my election card to the polling station, they told me that I cannot vote as my name was not on their list. The Election Commission (EC) and the government want the people to come forward and vote in large numbers but the lists prepared by them do not mention our name."
mid-day also visited one of the polling booths in Ward 129 in Ghatkopar West, where the polling booths were in a municipal garden. There was chaos near the gate as voter Kunda Patade got to know that some bogus voter has already cast her vote. "When I handed over the voting slip and the election ID card to the officer at the booth, they informed me that someone has already voted on my name.
I have heard that in Asalpha, too, there have been similar instances," said Patade adding, "I even checked the signature on the register and it was a fake signature." She alleged that the cops and EC officials present at the spot didn't help her either. Another case surfaced in Tardeo's Ward 217 with 57-year-old house help Sajda Sheikh. "My mother yelled at the in-charge when he said she had already voted. She showed him her unmarked finger after which he started pleading," said Phiroz Ishrat Jahan, her son.
On learning that Sajda would not give up, the officers at the booth started apologizing and made her wait for one and a half hour.
"They told her that the officers would lose their job if she complained and that she should stay mum about this and go home. Why should she go home? Someone else just comes and uses our vote and we say nothing?" Phiroz added. Later, Phiroz met EC officials at Mumbai Central.
"When we met the officers, my mother was asked to fill up a form, fold it and put inside a box. I was not allowed to go inside the booth so I don't even know what was written on the form. How do I know her vote is still going to be counted? The authorities are playing with people who don't have power," Phiroz said.