BMC polls: How did voters’ names go missing? EC, civic body pass the buck
As thousands could not find their names on the electoral roll and were denied the right to exercise their franchise on Tuesday, a blame game started between the Election Commission of India (ECI), the state election commission and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).mumbai Updated: Feb 23, 2017 08:39 IST
As thousands could not find their names on the electoral roll and were denied the right to exercise their franchise on Tuesday, a blame game started between the Election Commission of India (ECI), the state election commission and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
While the state election commission clarified on Wednesday that it was the ECI that prepared the list and so they had no role to play in it, the ECI put the blame on BMC for the goof up.
JS Saharia, state election commissioner, said that SEC should not be pulled up for the missing names of voters from the list.
“I can’t say why the names were missing as it was not prepared by us. ECI prepares and revises the voters’ list at regular intervals. They provide us with the updated list that we use to conduct elections for local bodies,” he said. In the updated list released on January 5 this year, the ECI has added 2.39 lakh new voters, he further added.
During the polls for the Mumbai civic body, a large number of people complained that their names were missing from the list. Political parties claimed that lakhs were deprived from exercising their voting right, but it is still unclear how many voters were actually affected.
However, officials from the ECI said that the uproar over the missing names was because of the goof up by the BMC while preparing the list of voters at the booth level. “We had provided them with the voter list at the booth level. The list was used without making any changes for years. The BMC changed the order and serial numbers of voters this time. The voters could not find their names on the list of their routine booth, despite having their names on the roll because of the changes made by the civic body,” he said.
He also said that the political parties could not distribute the slips with the booth details as the BMC had made changes to the serial number even after the list was given out to the candidates.
The official said that the website had crashed and the mobile application also added to the woes of the voters. Some of the applications introduced by the SEC and some NGOs proved to be helpful.
Reacting to the controversy, Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner, said that there was a possibility that citizens might not have checked their names after the list was reworked, which could have let to this confusion. “We have followed the directives of SEC,” Deshmukh said.
However, according to the BMC sources, SEC asked for a change in the serial number in the eleventh hour, which is why the names could have been missing.