‘EC has turned us into Pappu’

  • Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: May 07, 2009 00:46 IST

More than 600 people from J Prabhu Market in Lodhi Colony would not be able to vote on Thursday as their names have been deleted from the voters’ list after a Commonwealth Games related project displaced them earlier this year.

“The Election Commission has been advertising 'Pappu mat baniye, election ke din vote dijiye' (Don’t be a Pappu; vote on the election day) … but see the irony, the EC has turned us into 'Pappu',” said Dinesh Kumar.

He is one of the hundreds of displaced shopkeepers — mainly small time vegetable/fruits vendors/grocers and traders — from the J Prabhu Market near Seva Nagar Crossing in Lodhi Colony.

Kumar shows his papers and rattles off his voter identity card number (DL/01/005/183323). A huge parking lot is coming up along the drain near the Seva Nagar railway crossing, which will cater to the public coming for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Commonwealth Games next year.
Another resident of the area, Ram Karan Singh (UJE 0106799) claimed, “Not just voter ID cards, all of us had valid ration cards, electrical connections and even MTNL telephone connections.” “It was a cold bleak morning of January 10 when the residents woke up to the rude noise of bulldozers. And now we find our names have been deleted from the voters’ list too,” Singh said.

Hindustan Times checked with election officials, who confirmed the names have indeed been deleted from the list but could not give any reason for it. Incidentally, all of them had exercised their franchise in the Delhi Assembly polls, held a few months back.
Dhritabrata Bhattacharjya Tato, a social activist, has a volley of question for the authorities: “The very fact that they were paying bills (electric, phone bill, etc.,) means that they were paying taxes. How can the government decide they won’t be able to vote? Why should poor citizens move to make way for parking cars, that too for an event of
15 days?”

But apparently all such cries have fallen on deaf ears. “Two days after we were driven away from our homes and shops, together we filed a writ petition in the High Court,” Kumar said.

The MCD was directed to collect proof of all those staying here before 1998, the cut-off date. The residents submitted every single document well within the time frame. But till date, the MCD's JJ Department has done nothing.


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