Times of India published a story today with a title ’11 lakh names deleted from voters’ list?’
The story stated that Shantala Damle, a social activist, was shocked to see over 30% names deleted from Basvanagudi constituency.
The story has published the response from the CEO (Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka):
“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”
CEO is right. Deletions in Basvanagudi constituency between April to November this year were not 30%. They were 36.36%. If the deletions were not erratic, they must have been with a design to erase some non-professional records created by his organisation. 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.
On 20 July 2012 CEO published voter lists for 6,389 booths of 27 constituencies of Bangalore. These lists record deletions of 9,90,997 from the original count of 63,25,899 voters. Further, a set of lists were published on 05 November, which do not show details of deletions. But, we have 2,75,774 fewer voters than on 30 October 2012. From 63,25,899 in April 2012, the list has shrunk to 54,57,423. During 2008 assembly elections, voter count was 65,00,000. Who says that Bangalore is growing when in 4 years the voter count has reduced by about 10.5 lakhs? When CEO has shown addition of 3,99,299 voters on 20 July 2012, the deletions are at least 14.5 lakh voters.
The CEO has told that the deletions were not 30% but not how much it is. He is correct. Is he concerned?
CEO 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. Why is he telling ‘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.
I have met more than 50 wrongly deleted voters (no more voters now.) No one visited their homes or checked about their existence. They were all deleted with a reason ‘shifted residence.’ They were all surprised about the deletions.
The CEO states, “If there are any deletions, BBMP has to look in to 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 and responsibilities.
BBMP South and BBMP North officers have told me 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 is not available on CEO’s website. It is not available in BBMP offices too.
Should we interpret the phrase ‘concerned CEO’ as a CEO without any concern for the guidelines and rules and that he need not follow the directives?