Tryst with democracy – the CEO Way

The Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, advertised on 30th October with a headline  "Electoral rolls are being revised. Ensure that your name is in the Electoral Roll."

After deleting about one million names from the rolls of Bangalore districts alone, does he cover up some gross errors of his organisation putting the onus on citizens to ensure that their names are in the roll? When his organisation has not accepted the errors, why would they shown any concern to correct the errors.

Now they have delivered another set of incomplete and incorrect voter lists.

The advertisement has some interesting phrases.

"… your tryst with democracy starts now." As per WordNet from Princeton University, ‘tryst’ means a date, usually with a member of the opposite sex; a secret rendezvous, especially between lovers. Similar meanings are found in various dictionaries. What is this secret rendezvous in the system you call transparent?

Ironically, root word of tryst is trust and confidence. I neither have confidence in the professional competency of the CEO’s organisation nor do I trust them for professionalism.

"… to enable corrections if any, in the electoral rolls." We have pointed out more than a million instances of errors in the electoral rolls and several patterns of errors with suggestions on how to correct. Is there still a doubt about the need for corrections? Why the doubt ‘if any’ when there are so many? CEO is aware of the errors, but does not correct them. More errors are added with every new version.

"Draft publication of Rolls: 30th October 2012." Only some of the voter lists were published on 30th at CEO website. Some were published on 01 November as seen from the date stamp on the files. Now there are 6,587 documents on his site. We are not sure if all the files have been uploaded because 86 booths which were present till the new rolls were published are now missing and so are thousands of names. There are 284 new booths. I hope that there are more voter lists to be published as the current lists do not cover many street addresses, including mine.

In the lists of 20 July, close to 10 lakh voters were deleted. The lists now published have 3.1 lakh fewer voters than the ones published on 20 July. As the lists do not show details of deleted voters, it is difficult to know who is deleted and for what reason.

"Hard copy of the rolls are available at BBMP Ward offices …" My ward does not have hard or soft copies of voter lists. They are expected soon. How soon? No idea.

When the voter lists are not fully published, it is incorrect to start the period for filing claims and objections from 30 October to 29 November. (**UPDATED on 5th Nov: The period has been revised from 5th November to 4th Dec)

"To check your names in the electoral rolls visit our website." Using the search feature on 30 October, I found my name. The name was shown to be in Part 201 of Basavanagudi constituency. However, the website shows only part numbers 1 to 184 for Basavanagudi and hence could not find the document referred in the search result. I wrote about this to the CEO. Now, the search does not show my name. Am I deleted from the voter list?

"… voters can send SMS to 9243355223 to know their details in the electoral rolls …" Catch is that we have to include voter ID number in the SMS. As on 18 April, about 13 Lakh voters did not have voter ID, which is more than 21% of the voters. How do these citizens send SMS?

About 30,000 voter IDs are duplicated. If a person sends SMS with a duplicated ID, whose details will CEO give?

"Ensure that you are registered at only one constituency." I suspect that the system has lakhs of duplicate entries. It is easy to detect and delete thousands of them. CEO has not deleted such entries even when reported. Why is he now putting the burden on the citizens to ensure something which the system is not committed to ensure? Citizens do not create duplicate entries.

"For more details and any other clarification, kindly contact the Office of the Dy. Commissioner of your district or call center No.: 1950 or please contact BBMP call center No.: 22660000"

I sent a mail to DEO, South, BBMP, seeking his help to find my name in the roll, deleted only a day ago. There is no response yet.

I called the deputy commissioner of my district and sought his help in restoring my name. He promised to ‘look in to this.’ He did not seek my personal details. When I was online waiting for him to tell something, I could overhear discussion about garbage disposal. After about ten minutes of no response from the connected phone line, I put the phone on hook.

Calling 1950, I get a message "Please check the number you have dialed …"

People at call center responding to 22660000 asked me to contact my ward office. Very helpful. Full circle. The ward office has not got the voter lists yet and they are expecting them soon.

"Final publication of electoral rolls: 16th January 2013." Quality and completeness deteriorates with every new version of the rolls.

About PG Bhat 0 Articles
P G Bhat is a retired naval officer and software professional, an educationist and a social worker.

2 Comments

  1. I.A.Venkatesh, is living at No.67/91,Gandhibazar Road, next to HOtel Athithya, from the end of 1959. My name is not found in voter’s list even though I have voted earlier.
    How to check , confirm and include my name.
    A.Venkatesh
    9535215460
    adya.venkatesh@gmail.com

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