Residents of a cluster of villages in northwest Delhi are in a fix. Over 800 voter identity cards distributed in the area are riddled with errors of one kind or another.
A number of voters found that their addresses were changed, while many others reported errors in names of their husband, father or mother. Several others found that they have featured in the electoral rolls multiple times.
Mahipal Saini, a resident of Kushak village number 1, said 12 members of his joint family were issued voters’ identity cards with wrong addresses. “All of us have been shown as residents of a neighbouring village. If somebody is issued a card with my address on it, he may use it to avail a loan or get a phone connection,” said Mahipal Saini, a property dealer.
Delhi chief election officer Satbir Silas Bedi, however, called it minor error and said it would be taken care of once the assembly elections were over.
“Address are not a major concern for us at the moment if a person has a vote only from one place. We have issued cards to enable people to vote. If a voter’s name features from a lot of different places, that is a different issue,” Bedi told HT.
The residents, however, point out that they might not be allowed to vote at the polling booths in their villages. “We cannot even vote from the polling booths where our names are assigned as in villages people know each other well. If someone reports that our voters’ card has a wrong address, we may even be harassed by the police,” said Vikas Saini, a local social worker.
Vikas Saini said his wife Lalita was issued a card with a man’s photograph. “He is a neighbour. Incidentally, my wife and his card bore the same EPIC number (CRJ1858489). Why are these mistakes taking place now when the older cards are all fine?” he asked.
Saini said he started scrutinising the electoral list after he noted that one of the residents, Sanjay Singh, was listed from three different places.
“He lives in Kushak village number 2, but his name and photograph are listed from Kadi Vihar, a neighbouring unauthorised colony, as well as Kadipur Village. He has been issued three different EPIC numbers. These numbers are cited for a lot of important verifications,” added Saini.
He later found a number of similar instances. But when he pointed out these mistakes to the local electoral staff they refused to help.