Democracy needs proactive participation

Yes, I voted, with a name that was not only spelt wrong, but strangely had an extra word as well – "Meja Pramod Kumar".

Over two months ago, I had submitted the form for changing the errors in my name to the ARO, and had got his signed receipt. When I applied for the ID card last month, I realised my name was still listed incorrectly. To avoid missing a chance to vote, I got the same name printed on my ID card. (Now that this election is over, I need to start the process of applying for corrections in the rolls and getting another EPIC card all over again, but that will be another story.)

I voted and waited outside the booth for quite some time to see the reactions from people when they came out. In the 40 minutes that I spent in this exercise, at least 25 to 30 people came out angry at not finding their names on the list. Some carried their EPIC cards, and some others carried their passports or driving licenses etc. but they could not find their names on the list. They were more angry than disappointed. When I asked them why they had not verified if their names were included in the voters list, especially when enough publicity and time were given, many had no answer. Apathy, complacency or what?

Why are we complaining and blaming the system when we are not proactively participating in the process ourselves? That the entire system of enumeration and logging the data accurately need a total flip and overhaul is acknowledged and accepted. This time, there was a private firm which was given the responsibility of issuing ID cards. What a mess they made of it. Why? Because the authorities selected a company that had poor credentials and no accountability. One had to experience the quality and lack of enthusiasm of the people manning these booths. It was frightening.

I intend to interact with Mr. M.N. Vidyashankar (Chief Electoral Officer) and pass on suggestions on improving the process. If you have any ideas on this, please do share them; I would like to interact with you

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1 Comment

  1. My sentiments exactly. While I admire the elction commission for pulling off elections almost every year in the world’s largest democracy,the non-inclusion of thousands of legitimate voters in the list was unpardonable. The issue of voter id cards was an entirely goofed up affair. Like Mr. Kapur points out, the agencies chosen to issue id cards were arrogant and inneficeint. They were rude and impatient, and treated people who had queued up as if they were morons. I had to fight to get my name spelt right too. But many meekly took ‘no’ for an answer.

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