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Fight to Vote

Background: My family has been voting in the same constituency since, at least, the 1952 elections(Guess, my grandparents had voted in the Representative Assembly elections too, that's pre-independence era). They have been voting in the same voting booth(Immaculate Heart Convent) since its inception.
What transpired: Today(30th April, 2009) when my parents had gone to vote, they were in for a rude shock, their entries in the Electoral Roll were marked as "Deleted"!

The Presiding Officer and the policeman were especially rude, when my parents were trying to look for their name at the enquiry desk(in a neighbouring room), they were shouted at that they(poll officers) had already confirmed that their names are deleted and that they should have verified two months back itself. The Presiding Officer told them to approach the political parties camping outside the voting booth.

Also, normally the slips from various political parties which used to litter our porch was missing this time!

Verification: I had checked all the drafts of the roll put online which are in PDF format exported from Crystal Reports with text in Kannada, that's in proprietary ASCII, Nudi font-encoding, that's hard to search, but I searched the Election Photo Identity Card Number and found the entries.

Solution: I tried to call the Deputy Commissioner, as he is the Chief Electoral Officer for Mysore but could not get his number. So I called Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka, I suspect that I got the man himself on the phone, he gave me a helpline number that's set up exclusively for the polls.

When I called the helpline and explained the situation to the gentleman(who refused to reveal his name), he advised me to print the page in the Final Published Electoral Roll including a page before and after that and gave a me a mobile number of a Poll Observer who's a bureaucrat from a different state, he said he will come to the booth and get the problem resolved.

The mobile phone was not picked by the observer.

After seven phone calls and five hours. They got to vote at 1.30 PM, flanked to the voting booth by an Asst. Commissioner, few policemen and the observer.

How? The names had been moved to the next Roll, to the next Polling Room, tucked away in a remote corner.

Funnily, similarly many others, most of whom we are acquainted with also had their entries marked "Deleted"(AFAIK more than 70!), this includes the family who publish the most famous panchanga in these parts, a former judge, many academics and there is nothing logical about their choice other than all of them being educated and their surnames or father's names indicating them to belong to particular religious community(call me communal!), what gives strength to my doubt is that names of their children(including me and my bro') have not been affected as we neither have any surname nor our father's names strongly indicate the religious identity.

The Presiding Officer in the booth buried his head in a book and did not lift his head even to respond to my parents' greeting.

This explains to me why my cousin(who voted for the first time) had the same voting booth which her parents originally used to vote but her parents' names were transferred to another booth 3km away!

murali772's picture

Ravi - amazing story, man!

Ravi - amazing story, man! And, hats off to you for your perseverence! If the preparation and maintenance of electoral roles have not been professionalised, and continue to be retained in the hands of the government agencies, the reason is becoming very obvious. Whereas the Congress was using it to add any number of Bangladeshi's onto the list, the BJP does selective cleansing - check:

When is the civil society going to be "jaagoing" to this blatant subversion of the democratic process - check:

Muralidhar Rao

Muralidhar Rao
ravi's picture


My parents express their gratitude to all the ranks of the staff of election commission and govt. employees delegated to the poll duty both at desk and field, for all the help and guidance, finally resulting in exercising their franchise.
Vasanthkumar Mysoremath's picture

Hey Dude keep it up-let other guys emulate-how not to give up!


Good work - but for your incessant follow up action, yourelderly  parents would have simply said "To hell with voting...." and gone back home.

Keep it up - also see post - 'Success story of a Street Committee at Mysore' and try to create a street committee in your place.  My post is a detailed one that can be replicated anywhere and everywhere - I have full confidence that with guys like you around, such initiatives can be taken forward.  call 9845950440 or mail for GIS based initiative.

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