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"I am holding a valid voter ID right here. However, the polling agents said my record was missing from the voter list. How could this happen?"Noor, 40
In Shivajinagar of Bengaluru, The Quint spoke to several voters like Noor, whose names were missing from the voters list even as they had voters identification cards. Alarmingly, most of those whose names were tagged 'deleted' in the list were Muslims. Shivajinagar has around 1.91 lakh voters, at least 40 percent of whom are Muslims.
The Quint had earlier reported that despite the final electoral roll for the constituency being published on 15 January 2023, it was not clear whether over 9,000 people whose names were found to be deleted from the list will be allowed to voter on 10 May.
Muslim voters had earlier alleged that their names were found missing from the list. Later, the Election Commission clarified that the deletions were legal and that there was no foul play.
The BBMP (Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) revealed that over 6.69 lakh voters had been knocked out off the electoral rolls as of November 2022 for various reasons including existence of similar entries, duplicate IDs or tampered photographs, Deccan Herald reported.
But were the voters, whose names got deleted from the list, notified by the electoral officers in advance? On ground, The Quint found that most voters weren't informed of such deletions.
'How Can My Name Go Missing?'
The Quint spoke to several people who came to vote but found their names deleted from the voter list. A 20-year-old MBBS student, who did not want to divulge her name, told The Quint that she received her voter ID last year and was excited to vote for the first time. However, to her dismay, her name was missing when she tried to cast her vote this morning.
"I have lived at the same address for years now. How can my name be deleted from the voter list suddenly?"Mohsin, 51
Wasim, 36, from Shivajinagar, told The Quint, "I don’t know why my name was deleted from the voters list. When I questioned the authorities present at the polling booths, no one gave any answers. I don’t know what to do now." Rashida, 39, joined in to complain about the same. She said that the polling agents told her that they were searching the records but in vain.
Speaking to The Quint, a polling agent from Shivajinagar claimed that hundreds of Muslim names were deleted and that there were a considerable number of Dalits and Adivasi voters whose names were also missing. He also showed the list, which corroborated his claims.
While the voter deletion based on community is under contention and has raised confusion in the poll-bound state, will the voters whose names are allegedly deleted from the voter list be allowed to exercise their democratic duty before it’s too late?