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Thousands find names missing from voters' list

A former CM, his wife and several prominent personalities are among thousands of voters who were deprived of their voting rights.
PTI | By Indo-Asian News Service, Hyderabad
PUBLISHED ON APR 20, 2004 09:40 PM IST

Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Bhaskar Rao, his wife and several prominent personalities are among thousands of voters who were deprived of their voting rights Tuesday.

Holding voters' photo identity cards issued by the Election Commission, they lined up at polling centres to cast their votes but to their surprise found that their names were missing from the list.

Many voters in almost all the 21 Lok Sabha constituencies and 107 assembly segments that went to the polls in the first phase complained that their names were deleted.

"I am alive but they deleted the name presuming that I am dead," said freedom fighter M. Satynarayana.

M. Krishna, 65, stood for an hour at a polling booth for his turn but could not cast his vote.

"For the first time in my life I could not cast my vote," complained Krishna as he displayed his identity card at a polling booth in the Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency.

Five members of a family were issued identity cards but when they went to a booth in the Malakpet assembly constituency they were informed that municipal officials had struck off their names. The presiding officer said she could do nothing.

In Warangal, Khammam, Karimnagar and other places, people were angry over the deletions. At Warangal, 200 voters blocked the traffic to lodge their protest.

The two main political parties in the election arena blamed each other for the large-scale deletions.

While TDP president and Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu blamed the Congress party, the latter demanded a thorough probe and alleged that the TDP had a hand in the deletion of names.

Naidu also pointed a finger at the Election Commission saying it unnecessarily acted on the complaints of the Congress and deleted names of genuine voters.

It may be recalled that the Election Commission had deleted names of as many as 6.4 million voters in January following complaints by the opposition parties that many bogus voters had been enrolled.

After the deletions, the number of voters came down to little over 51 million.

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