Bangalore LS Elections – Michael Saldanha discovers Minorities missing from Voters List

April 11, 2011 by admin  
Filed under Karnataka, National, State

The Election Commissioner

Karnataka

Bangalore

 

Respected Sir,

 

The 1st phase of voting was undertaken in Bangalore City on 23 April 2009. This year the

consciousness levels were abnormally high and both individuals and organizations over

the last six months had taken the trouble to ensure that every singly eligible voter was

duly represented in the electoral rolls. In my own case I personally ensured that all the

requisite procedures were complied with and completed within the prescribed time.

Despite this when we reached the Polling Booth No. 5 yesterday the name of Domingos

Regino Fernandes was missing from the electoral roll. This man is permanently resident

at my flat as he works for me and has voted at all the earlier elections.

 

Since 7.30 a.m. yesterday I received over 100 calls from citizens all over the city

complaining that their names have been selectively deleted from the electoral rolls. Every

single one of them stated that they have complied with all the formalities and it is their

charge that the names have been deliberately removed at the stage of the final printing.

 

I spent about four hours at the polling booth Nos.4, 5 & 6 and I desire to record

something serious that has taken place at this centre:

(a) It is not correct to state that the voter turnout in the city was poor. I have seen

several elections and between 10 a.m. & 2 p.m. there was a heavy continuous

stream of persons arriving to cast their votes. This was the case all through

the day.  Unfortunately as many as 2 to 3 out of every five persons found

their names missing. The situation was unpleasant because all of them

insisted that they had complied with all the requirements and they alleged

that because they belonged to the minority community or to sections of

society who would not be supporting the BJP that their names have been

removed. There is considerable substance in this charge because the absence

of names follows the very pattern that is being complained about. For

instance, in a family group just one or two names are present and all the

remaining members of the household have been deleted. In other instances

wholesale deletion has taken place principally because the names are easily

identifiable such as persons belonging to the Christian and Muslim

community. The reason why I spent considerable time doing an on the spot

analysis was because I wanted to check the facts very carefully and I find that

the charge is fully substantiated.

(b) There was a lot of movement around this centre because the candidates and

their representatives were continuously moving between the various polling

centers in Bangalore and all of them told me that the aforesaid pattern was

common at all the polling centers in Bangalore City. (c) On the basis of actual figures available the voter turn out in Bangalore City

was close to 100% but the report put out is that the voting was around 40%.

This is because only 40% of the persons who came to vote were allowed to

vote. What follows from this is extremely serious because the result that

emerges will not be representative of the will of the people as over 50% of

the citizens were prevented from voting.

(d) THE IRRESISTABLE CONCLUSION IS THAT MORE NUMBER OF

VOTERS HAVE BEEN DENIED THEIR FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS TO

CAST THEIR VOTES THAN THE NUMBER WHO HAVE ACTUALLY

VOTED BECAUSE OF A DEVIOUS AND CORRUPT PRACTICE THAT

HAS MANIFESTED ITSELF WHILE PRINTING THE FINAL LIST. ONE

OF THE LADIES PRESENT IS WILLING TO GIVE EVIDENCE THAT SHE

HAD CHECKED THE FINAL LIST, FOUND HER NAME THERE AND

THAT IT HAS STILL BEEN DELETED FROM THE LIST AVAILABLE AT

THE POLLING BOOTH. THERE WERE SUSPICIONS AND

ALLEGATIONS THAT THE GOVERNMENT WHICH IS IN CHARGE OF

THE PRINTING IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS IN ORDER TO ENSURE

THE SUCCESS OF ITS OWN CANDIDATES. THE FACTS FULLY

ESTABLISH THIS CHARGE.

 

The irresistible conclusion is that the electoral process is vitiated ab initio by a corrupt

practice amounting to FRAUD and on this ground alone the Election Commission will

have to order an enquiry and a re-poll. As a first  step an immediate public notice will

have to be issued in the media very prominently calling upon all those citizens whose

names have been illegally deleted to bring it to the notice of the Election Commission in

a duly prescribed manner and within a specified time. It is not necessary that the number

of persons complaining should be higher than or close to those who have voted because

there are instances when the contest is close and even a few votes could tilt the balance. If

it is found on enquiry that a corrupt practice has  occurred a re-election will have to be

ordered at all the centers where the voting took place on 23 April 2009. It follows that the

results of the vitiated election cannot be declared.

 

Please take immediate steps to proceed along the lines as set out above. If the

Commission refuses to do so an order to that effect may be passed so that the aggrieved

parties can move for legal redress. This may be treated as a formal demand for justice.

 

Yours faithfully,

Justice M.F. Saldanha (Retd.)

Chairman – Karnataka Chapter.

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Transparency International India

Karnataka Chapter

 

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