Ghaziabad ward delimitation splits votes in housing society

Residents of same high-rise find names in voter list of two different wards; issue raises concern over development

noida Updated: Nov 23, 2017 23:20 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
ghaziabad local body polls,Express Greens,Ghaziabad development
Express Greens in Vaishali (above) once had 400-500 voters in their ward. This number has come down to just 85 after the delimitation exercise.

The recent delimitation exercise in which 100 wards were carved out of the earlier 80 wards in the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation has left many a voter in a peculiar position ahead of the local body elections. Many voters from the same area, in fact even the same apartment complex, have been split between different wards. More worryingly, names of many voters have gone missing from the electoral list.

RWA members of the Express Greens high-rise in Vaishali’s Sector 1 said nearly 85 voters from their apartment complex have been included in the Sector-1 ward while 7 to 8 residents of the same high-rise have been included in a different ward, that of neighbouring Kaushambi.

“We have a total of 400-500 voters in the high-rise as nearly 225 families are residing here at present. It is interesting that now we have been left with only 85 votes in Vaishali’s Sector 1 (ward 76) while 4 voters from the same high-rise have been shifted to Kaushambi (ward 72). The names of another eight residents has been included in the list of Kaushambi and Vaishali Sector 1, both. We fail to understand how can residents of the same high-rise be divided into two different wards,” president of Express Green RWA Prabhat Bhattacharya said.

“Out of the existing voters, names of nearly 200 are not in the electoral rolls altogether. It is a mystery,” he said, adding that this is for the first time that the residents of the high-rise will be voting for different wards.

Our votes have been intact in the past elections, he said.

For the residents, the real cause of worry about this situation is how the split in votes will affect their ability to highlight civic issues and have them addressed.

Residents said that they will go on an agitation about a major garbage dump that has come up next to their high-rise. The problem of foul smell in the area is compounded by a major drain which passes through Vaishali and carries toxic industrial effluents. The residents also complain that there are very few street lights on the main road, popularly known as the Gautam Pallav road.

“Since voters in our high-rise are divided into two wards, which elected councillor will we approach for resolution of our issues? At the same time, it will be interesting to see which of the two councillors will utilise his/her funds for our problem,” Mohit Sharma, a resident of the high-rise and a social activist, said adding that some candidates have promised to look into the issues of removal of garbage dump and missing street lights.

Meanwhile, Kaushambi residents are also facing similar issues.

Like the Express Greens, residents in a part of Kaushambi said that nearly 500 voters from D-block have gone to Bhovapur village ward even though the block is a part of Kaushambi.

“The delimitation has basically cut the ward into two halves. Earlier, Kaushambi, Bhovapur village and Seemant Vihar were one ward. Now, Kaushambi and half of Vaishali Sector 1 are included in one ward even though they are geographically a kilometre apart. Bhovapur and D block of Kaushambi have gone to a different ward. This will be of no use in terms of development,” VK Mittal, president of Kaushambi apartment RWA, said.

Candidates’ woes

Delimitation has also left contesting candidates sleepless. They said that it has become tedious to identify voters of their wards and scale the geographical distance between two different localities of Kaushambi and Vaishali for campaigning.

“Whenever I go to Vaishali, people say you are from Kaushambi. Half the day is spent in campaigning at Vaishali and the other half at Kaushambi. In D Block, two flats of a building have gone to Bhovapur village ward. In one of the high-rises at Kaushambi, voters of three floors are in my ward while the rest have gone to Bhovapur,” Vinay Maheshwari, an independent contesting candidate from Kaushambi, said.

The officials from the Ghaziabad district administration said that are aware of the issues in Vaishali and Kaushambi and will work towards a solution after the elections.

“The residents should have raised this issue earlier. We have revised the list a number of times and many issues have been sorted out. The pending issues of Vaishali and Kaushambi regarding the voter list will be looked into. But it can only be checked after election. At present, these cannot be sorted out,” district election officer and district magistrate Ritu Maheshwari said.

Polling for the local body elections in Ghaziabad will take place on November 26.

First Published: Nov 23, 2017 23:20 IST