Angry voters gherao district collector over missing names

Apr 18, 2014, 06:49 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

Many Punekars braved the scorching heat to make their way to polling booths, only to be told that their names were missing

Angry citizens gheraoed district collector Saurabh Rao, asking him to grant them permission to cast their votes. Since the voting started in Pune, increasing number of incidents of missing names poured in.

Missing names: BJP candidate Anil Shirole and RTI activist Vinita Deshmukh discussing the issue of missing names in voters lists of Pune constituency on Thursday. Pic/Mohan Patil

Voters whose names have been in the list until the municipal corporation’s election conducted in 2012, have disappeared from the list. Consequently, thousands of voters were deprived from performing their right of voting.

“My entire family’s names have been deleted from the list. District administration should give a clarification on this deletion without even informing us,” said RTI activist, Vinita Deshmukh. Hundreds of voters from various parts of the city gathered at the Collector’s office located in Council Hall from 6 pm on yesterday to know the reason of the deletion of their names.

A remarkable presence of youth was seen at the collector’s office, as they were disappointed to lose a chance to vote. “My polling booth center was in Sadashiv Peth, and when I reached there I found out that my wife’s name was in the list, but mine was missing,” said Jayant Tongaonkar.

Meanwhile, district collector Saurabh Rao said, “I told the people to submit their statement today (Friday) and I would forward it to the Election Commission of India. Then ECI would take the decision on this matter.”

Many couldn’t vote
65-year-old Aundh resident Mukund Tapkir had to run from pillar to post in search of his polling station in Shivaji Nagar assembly segment yesterday. For 30 years he has been voting at a polling centre located in Fergusson College. But yesterday, he was told by the district administration that his name was not in the voter register.

Surprised, Tapkir tried to search his name on the Election Commission’s website, where he got the message that his name was not in the list and that he had to fill up Form Six to enrol.

“How did my name suddenly disappear from the list?” Tapkir asked. He said that although he had shifted from Shivaji Nagar to Aundh, he did not withdraw his name from the Shivaji Nagar assembly segment.  “I have been voting from this constituency for 30 years,” Tapkir said.

He was not the only voter who couldn’t vote due to such omissions. As many as 50 resident of 1393, Shukrawar Peth didn’t vote, as their names were deleted from Kasba assembly segment without intimating them.

“14 names from the same family have disappeared from the list in Shukrawar Peth. Except for one, almost all the residents of the address could not vote,” said BJP’s poll booth manager at Shukarawar Peth, Hemant Lele.

A similar incident
happened with Uday Kulkarni, who came from Anand Nagar at Sinhagad Road in the scorching heat to the polling centre near Shanipar in Kasba assembly segment. “I was so excited to vote for the Lok Sabha election, but had to return without casting my vote due to the district administration’s mismanagement,” he said.

BJP blamed the Congress for the omissions. “The way (Congress) brought 1 lakh bogus voters from Sangli to Pune — (an allegation denied by the collector as well as the Congress) —  I am sure it was their conspiracy to reduce BJP’s votes from its strongholds of Kasba and Shivaj Nagar,” said BJP’s western Maharashtra spokesperson, Shripad Dhekane.

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