EC Apologises to Apollo VC for Wrongful Deletion From Voter Roll
“Am I not an Indian citizen,” asks Apollo Hospitals Vice Chairperson Shobana Kamineni in Hyderabad.
The Quint DAILY
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Vice Chairperson of Apollo Hospitals and former CII chief Shobana Kamineni, said she felt cheated as a citizen after she found out her name had been deleted from the voters list in the Secunderabad Lok Sabha constituency, where she had voted just last December in the Telangana Assembly polls.
Kamineni met with Rajat Kumar, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Telangana, to express her grievance and the Election Commission has since apologised to her for the erroneous deletion of her name from the voter rolls.
Speaking to The Quint, Kamineni asked, “I could meet with him because I have a certain degree of access. What about those who don’t? The CEO was very kind, but it’s clear that the system isn’t working perfectly. We need to use technology better so that people do not get disenfranchised due to such errors.”
‘Is My Vote Not Important?’
In a video that’s being shared widely on social media, the daughter of Apollo Hospitals chief Dr Pratap Reddy can be heard saying she was travelling abroad and returned to India to exercise her franchise. However, she was told at the polling booth that her vote had been deleted.
“I come to the booth and I’m told that my vote is deleted. Am I not an Indian citizen? Am I not counted in this country? Is my vote not important? This is a crime against me as a citizen and I will not tolerate it.”Shobana Kamineni, Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals
Election Commission’s Reply
In a statement sent to Kamineni, the Election Commission explained that since September 2017, her name erroneously appeared twice on the voting rolls. This was apparently identified during the EC’s recent de-duplication exercise.
“Due to some error, both the entries were deleted in the first week of March. An explanation has been called for from the ERO (Electoral Registration Officer) and the matter is being enquired. This is a clear case of negligence of ERO. I know this explanation cannot satisfy anyone. We are looking at systemic changes for future.”EC response to Shobhana Kamineni
After her video, several other voters posted about similar cases where individuals’ and even families’ names have been left out of the voters list.
Citizens from 17 constituencies in Telangana will be casting their vote across polling booths today.
Voters disenfranchisement isn’t a new issue in Telangana. In the 2018 Assembly elections, nearly 30 lakh voters were deleted from electoral rolls in the state. An RTI query had revealed that the Telangana Election Commission used Aadhaar to delete potential duplicate voters without any verification.
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