Though Ludhiana has emerged as the number 1 district for having enrolled 30,217 new voters in a special camp organised on March 9, residents of various areas have accused the staff on election duty of refusing them enrolment in voters' list, thereby depriving them of the right to vote.
The residents have also accused the area councillors of foul play, stating that they gave recommendation letters to voters who they knew would support their party, as a result, several people who did not have any document to authenticate their stay in the area, were not enrolled in the voters' list.
Councillors are closest to the people living in respective wards; hence they have an accurate account of the number of people residing in every locality followed by age, number of births and deaths.
Thus, it is easy for them to manage "bogus voting" in the names of the individuals who have shifted or died but their names exist in the voters' list. This is managed with or without the connivance of the staff on election duty.
Annoyed with the foul play on the part of the area councillor, a group of residents in Moti Nagar shared their "worst experiences" with this correspondent during her visit to the area.
"We were asked to produce a number of documents and affidavits to get enrolled in the voters' list. Most interesting being that the Aadhaar card, too, was declared null and void at the recently organised camp," rued Satnam Singh, an area resident.
The supporters of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Congress and independent candidates resorted to unethical practices, including manipulations in the list of voters with the help of councillors and staff on electoral duty, the residents alleged.
The worst being a case in Amarpura on Tibba Road where a resident who shifted to Ludhiana from Delhi four years ago, when approached the officials for getting his voter card, was asked to get it in written from Election Commission of India that he did not have a vote in Delhi.
"It is not just my case but there are more than 50 people in this area who have been denied entry in voters' list on flimsy grounds. This has been done on the directions of the area councillor, Daljit Singh Bhola, who is a close aide of Simarjit Singh Bains, who is contesting Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate, and knows that these votes will not be polled for Bains," alleged Meherban, a trader.
Deputy commissioner-cum-district election officer Rajat Agarwal, when apprised of the complaints, said he would instruct the assistant returning officers (AROs) to entertain the applications. "I will make sure that the applications are received and none of the deserving voters are denied enrolment in voters' list," Agarwal said.
In case an individual wants to cast vote but does not have an authentic document, such as a rent deed, electricity bill or Aadhaar card, a letter from the area councillor is considered to be a valid proof of his residency. The councillors exercise this right as per their wish and for the benefit of the political party they are affiliated to, often do not extend help to a person in need of recommendation.
Assembly segments under Ludhiana Lok Sabha seat
Assembly segments falling under Ludhiana Lok sabha constituency are Ludhiana East, Ludhiana West, Ludhiana North, Ludhiana South, Ludhiana Central, Atam Nagar, Jagraon, Gill and Dakha.