Lakhs of names have been reported deleted from Bengaluru’s voter lists – there is even a PIL requesting the High Court to intervene. Shantala Damle, a social activist, was shocked to see over 30% names deleted from Basvanagudi constituency. (Ref: ToI, November 9th)
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In his response, the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, said:
"I disagree with the claims of 30% deletions. A revision exercise was done, but there was no erratic deletion. Booth level officers of BBMP have visited individual houses. In April-July 2012, over 53,000 names were added after BBMP realised that genuine voters were affected in some places. If there are any deletions , BBMP has to look in to it"
The CEO is right. Deletions in Basvanagudi constituency between April to November this year were not 30%. They were 36.36%! In April 2012, Basvanagudi constituency had 2,34,308 voters, of which 69,875 voters were deleted in July. The count has reduced by another 15,312 voters in November. The deletions since April this year till now is at least 85,187 voters. It is 36.36% of the voters we had in April.
The CEO has stated that the deletions were not 30% but not how much it is. Is he concerned?
If the deletions were ‘not erratic’, were they done with a design to erase some non-professional records created by his organisation?
However, lakhs of absurd records remain in the rolls. You look for one error, you find a dozen.
CEO has stated that over 53,000 names were added in April – July 2012. He is right again. 3,99,299 voters were added as per the lists he published on his website, which is over 53,000, 7.53 times.
Why is he saying ‘over 53,000’ and not ‘about 4,00,000’? In more than 50% of booths, additions are more than 4%, which require him to cross-verify additions. Neither deletions nor additions were verified. Is the CEO concerned about the large number of additions?
The CEO states, "If there are any deletions, BBMP has to look into this." Is he not interested to look in to the problems when we have been reporting specific errors for the past five months?
Hand Book for Electoral Registration Officers published by EC in 2009 (available on CEO’s website) states:
"Under Section 13 AA of the Representation of the People Act, 1950, there shall be a Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) for each State/Union Territory … the Chief Electoral Officer shall supervise the preparation and revision of electoral rolls of all the constituencies in the State."
If CEO takes services of BBMP to maintain the electoral rolls, he cannot disown accountability. Passing orders and giving directives is a responsible activity – it is not an escape from accountability.
BBMP South and BBMP North officers say that there are no Booth Level Officers (BLOs). CEO tells the press that BLOs have visited individual houses. How can non-existent people visit houses?
EC Letter No. 23/1/2012-ERS Dated: 26th September, 2012 states "Name, phone number of every BLO should be put on the website of the concerned CEO." The list of BLOs neither available on CEO’s website nor BBMP offices. The BLOs don’t exist.
Should we interpret the phrase ‘concerned CEO’ as a CEO without any concern about his responsibilities?