Mumbai votes: Slips with party symbols land voters in trouble
Even as the Election Commission provides strict guidelines against political parties from campaigning on the day of election, unknowingly, voters themselves carried voting slips with party’s information on it, which inevitably landed them in trouble.
Voters were found carrying voting slips distributed by Shiv Sena and Congress to the polling booth
mid-day found cases at Hussain Allana School at Lokhandwala and SP College of Engineering at Andheri where voters were found with party’s branded voting slips. They were asked to wait outside while cops who would first tear the slips and then allow them to enter the booths.
Most voters with these slips said that they were not aware of any such rule when they carried the slips with them. Predictably, party workers claimed no hand in passing these slips, although it had Shiv Sena and Congress’ symbol and candidate information.
Angry voters to file FIR, ask state to let them re-vote
Deletion of names from the voting list lead to chaos and heated arguments between people and staffers of the Election Commission in Khar (W) yesterday.
Milind Chitnavis, an upset voter, said, “We were at this zonal office (temporary) from 10 am to 4.30 pm, but nothing happened. We are in the process of filing an FIR, as we have learnt that names of 46,000 people from the area are missing from the current list. The government must allow all of us, whose names have been missing, to re-vote because the number is large.”
In another incident, an ex-MLA’s son was assaulted after an argument with the security personnel and EC officers turned ugly. He was accused of vitiating the atmosphere at a polling station and was handed over to the Khar police. Monal Mehta, who had to return home without voting, said, “I had applied for a voting card in February itself, but neither did I get the card nor did my name appear in the list.”
Commenting on the issue, her mother said a majority of people turning up for voting at the polling booth at Poddar School were sent back by the officials claiming that their names did not feature in the list. “We are a joint family of 17 members, but surprisingly none of our names were there in the list.”
Vote first, marry later
Manan Desai, a 30-year-old businessman, set an example for all those who give lame reasons to abstain from voting.
Manan Desai shows the mark on his left index finger
Set to tie the knot at 12.30 pm yesterday, Desai and his to be wife Ishani Thakkar first went and cast their vote at 7.30 am in their respective constituencies. Desai, a Vile Parle resident, said, “If my vote can bring a change then it’s my duty to cast it, come what may. So I decided to visit the polling station before the mahurat.”
Missing from the rolls
Viraj Bajaria (32), resident of Jain society who has voted in previous elections
I had my voter’s card but my name was missing from the list. Many other residents of my building also could not find their names.
Sonal Gopal (43), resident of Jain society
I have my voter’s card and have voted in previous elections, but my name was missing from the list.
A resident of Jain society
We have been voting since ages, I don’t know what went wrong this time. Officials at the booth did not even bother to help us. They had no solution for our predicament.
A lot of people could not find their names in the list. These things happen from time to time and we cannot help it.
- Poll booth officer at Sion municipal school
Suresh Deodar (70)
I had gone to vote with my wife and son. When my turn came I found out they had stamped ‘deleted’ against my name. I protested, saying that I have been voting for a long time. No one had come to our house to verify.
Shreepad Gore (70)
I had to run between polling stations for three hours in the sun and yet I could not find my name. I had been voting at the same polling booth all these years. I don’t know how my name could have disappeared. When I asked the electoral officer there he said he was just an employee of the agricultural department and couldn't do anything.
Voter, who went to SP College of Engineering
I did not know that carrying the slip was not allowed and took it along with me. While I was standing in line, a cop asked me what I was carrying. After convincing him that I carried it without knowing that it is prohibited, I was asked to get a slip on a plain paper. If these things are not allowed, why do political parties distribute it?
Ritu Rohira, voter who went to Hussain Allana School at Lokhandwala
I had brought the voting slip with me that I got a few days back. I was stopped by officials and was shocked to know that it was illegal. If it was prohibited, the EC should have banned the practice for parties to distribute it. Why harass us and waste our time?
- Ranjeet Jadhav and Neha LM Tripathi