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Election goof-up: Opposition parties cry foul over deletion of voter names

Calling it a conspiracy hatched by the ruling parties, MNS demands re-inclusion of missing names; BJP state chief Devendra Fadnavis terms the large scale deletion of names 'unnatural'

A huge furore has erupted over the mass deletion of voters from the electoral rolls. Opposition parties in the state — Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) — are seeing foul play in the exclusion of the names.

BJP state chief Devendra Fadnavis said he heard that an employee of a company involved in electoral roll work offered to delete names from the lists for Rs 300 per name. File pics MNS’ Bala Nandgaonkar, who contested from Mumbai South, has lodged a complaint with the state’s chief electoral officer Nitin Gadre, and demanded inclusion of missing names in the list. File pics
BJP state chief Devendra Fadnavis said he heard that an employee of a company involved in electoral roll work offered to delete names from the lists for Rs 300 per name. and MNS’ Bala Nandgaonkar, who contested from Mumbai South, has lodged a complaint with the state’s chief electoral officer Nitin Gadre, and demanded inclusion of missing names in the list. File pics

While Election Commissioner H S Brahma, of the Election Commission (EC) in Delhi, apologised for the deleted names in Maharashtra, the state wing of the EC chose to blame the state machinery and political parties themselves for not raising an alarm, when the voter lists were provided almost six months ago.

Around 50.32 lakh names are missing from the voters’ list in the state, with 12.58 lakh from Mumbai and Thane district itself. State EC officials, off the record, said the revision of electoral rolls was done by district collectorates.

“They were responsible for the entire revision procedure. Nobody approached us earlier; not even the parties to whom revised voter lists were given soon after their publication almost six months ago. How were we to know of the issue?” asked an official.

Conspiracy theories
Many whose names were missing this time, cast their votes in the 2009 general and state assembly elections. They also carried valid voter ID cards to the polling booth this time.

Opposition parties have realised the seriousness of the issue. MNS MLA Bala Nandgaonkar, who contested against Congress MP Milind Deora demanded re-polling in the Mumbai South Lok Sabha constituency.

He met the state’s Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Gadre and submitted his representation (copy with mid-day). Nandgaonkar termed it as a conspiracy by the Congress and the NCP.

“We will find out who is behind this conspiracy,” he said, demanding a CBI inquiry into the matter and also a rectification of the poll lists immediately.

BJP’s Kirit Somaiyya, who ran against NCP’s sitting MP Sanjay Dina Patil from Mumbai North East, has approached the police. He also alleged that almost one lakh names were deleted or simply went missing across Ghatkopar, Mulund, and Bhandup.

BJP’s state chief Devendra Fadnavis has asked the EC to undertake an exercise to revise electoral rolls. “Most deleted names are of those who were considered as staunch supporters of Shiv Sena and the BJP,” said Fadnavis.

Terming the deletion of names on such a large scale as unnatural, he added, “I have heard about an employee of a company involved in electoral roll work, offering to delete names from the list at a rate of R300 per name.”

12.58 lakh
Number of voters’ names deleted from electoral rolls for Mumbai and Thane district

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