Skip to main content

Poll goof-up? Tens of thousands of duplicate voters galore in Ahmedabad, amidst 25,000 pending applications

Bombay Hotel area, Ahmedabad
By Rajiv Shah
Even as Gujarat prepares to vote on April 30, well-informed sources have told Counterview that the state administration, currently operating under the Election Commission of India (ECI), has “completely messed up” the entire process of registration of voters. Giving one example after another, these sources, quoting senior officials in charge of poll management, have said, in the Ahmedabad district alone there are a whopping 45,000 “duplicate voters”, and there is still no “foolproof system which would ensure that they are deleted”.
In fact, these sources quote Roopwant Singh, district collector, Ahmedabad, who also happens to be the chief of the electoral hierarchy in the district, as having told an internal meeting that while he “believes” there are 45,000 duplicate voters, “it is proving to be extremely difficult to identify them.” A major reason being listed is lack of staff across at the ground level, meant to identify these duplicate voters in order to delete their names.
This is not the only issue that has been identified by non-political observers who are watching the electoral process from close quarters. “Around 25,000 applications, complete with photographs and necessary documents, remained pending with the Ahmedabad district electoral officials in March-end, and Singh declared it a day, saying these cannot be entered in, a week before the last date for finalizing the voter list ended, which was March 30”, the sources, privy to the development, said.
The sources said, one of the basic reason behind such a “huge goof-up” – which is taking place across Gujarat and is not confined to one district – is the state administration decision to hand over the job of data entry to private operators. 
“There are just two of them doing the job, sitting on the first floor of the district collector’s office. In fact, as the date for completing the electoral list, March 31, drew nearer, they protested and even went on a go-slow strike. The district collector was helpless. The applications were not registered. Those made them would now be deprived of voting”, the sources said.
The sources also said that huge minority-dominated areas where large sections have still not been registered as voters. This especially true of Bombay Hotel and Citizen Nagar areas, where nearly 1.5 lakh people live, many of whom are still devoid of voter ID cards. 
“Set up following the Gujarat riots in 2002, people who live here has migrated from other parts of Gujarat. About 50 per cent of the people here have no means to prove their identity, hence they will be deprived of voter ID card”, the sources point out. “Officials suspect, these may be registered as voters elsewhere, hence they are not registered at the new place.”
The situation with the state’s rural areas is even worse, the sources say. “In Chhotaudepur in South Gujarat, for instance, there is just one deputy mamlatdar who was in charge of looking after the job of registering new voters. He has been complaining to senior officials for long that he needs more helping hands, and he cannot do the job alone, but there is no help forthcoming from any quarter. This deputy mamlatdar is additional charge of least a dozen other jobs. It is impossible for him to cope with his electoral work”, the sources said.
Meanwhile, a voluntary organization, which is one of the many working for voter awareness drive across the state in alliance with the Election Commission of India, has found during its campaign that voters, especially poor Dalits and Muslims, are being offered Rs 1,200 per vote by a particular political party to vote. 
A senior activist said, the fear factor among the minorities because of the 2002 riots is a major reason for the middle classes to feel that if they do not support the majority they would face reprisals. Under the present system, it is possible to know which electoral booth voted which party – and the details are shared with political parties!

Comments

TRENDING

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

Union Budget 'moves away' from Right to Education, 1.3 lakh schools closed down

By Dr Aparajita Sharma*
It was a shocking reply by the Union human resource development minister to a question raised in Parliament on closure of schools in a country where lakhs of children are still out of school. On December 2, the minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, told Lok Sabha that the NITI Aayog’s education project, Sath-E, has led to 35,996 schools of different levels being merged in Madhya Pradesh, 4,312 in Jharkhand and 1,803 in Odisha. NITI Aayog is the Central Government’s policy think-tank.

CAA-NPR-NRC will 'target' 99% homeless, who are without birth certificates: NCU

Counterview Desk
Claiming to base on a survey in five states (Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu), which finds that over 99% of the homeless people do not have birth certificates, a civil rights organization which networks activists, researchers, urban practioners, lawyers, informal sector workers, has claimed that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), as also the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the National Population Register (NPR), are likely to adversely impact this section the most.

Modi 'warned': Will not remain silent when women are labelled terrorists and traitors

Counterview Desk
As many as 13 women's rights organizations and 162 individuals have issued an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stating that in the light of hate speeches during Delhi elections, especially directed against women, it is his "Constitutional duty to protect all citizens" and tell his partymen "to fight the elections in a manner that upholds the Constitution, not one that increases the fear and insecurity among women."

Law 'governing' world's tallest Statue of Unity refers to local tribals as occupiers

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant*
The recently enacted Statue of Unity (SoU) Area Development and Tourism Governance Act, 2019 in Gujarat comes amidst a terrifying atmosphere of intimidation, house arrests, detentions and FIRs, not to mention the overarching implementation of Section 144 across the state.

Anti-CAA: Mallika Sarabhai joins students, faculty to protest dy CM's 'divisive' talk

By Our Representative
Taking strong exception to deputy chief minister Nitin Patel’s statement against those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), well-known danseuse Mallika Sarabhai has joined tens of activists and students and faculty of Gujarat University, CEPT University, Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Gujarat Vidyapeeth and Nirma University to say that they are seeking “azadi” from the fascist and communal forces of the country.

Ramchandra Guha on how Gandhi outgrew his Gujarati bania 'parochialism'

By Rajiv Shah
More than a fortnight ago, prominent historian Ramchandra Guha, who calls himself Gandhi scholar and not a Gandhian, came to Ahmedabad. While I was part of a small group of persons who met him at lunch, his lecture on Gandhi in the evening, where he sought to interpret what swaraj meant to Gandhi, surely, interested the selected audience that had been called to listen to him.

Ironical? Hindutva is all 'fire and spite', as Muslim women become apostles of peace

By Sandeep Pandey*
On January 26, Republic Day, 2020, while protests simmered against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) throughout India, a dozen North American cities also witnessed historic protests. Indian Embassies have been witness to protests in the past. But this time it was different.

Union Budget: 24 crore people live in the dark, Sitharaman talks of prepaid smart meters

Counterview Desk
The Centre for Financial Accountability (CFA), a Delhi-based advocacy group, commenting on the Union budget 2020-21, has has called it a case of missing wood for the trees, pointing out, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman "missed an opportunity to fix the economy, which is reeling under an unprecedented slowdown, with all indices pointing towards a recession."