Telangana elections: Not just names, faulty machines and claims of bogus voting mar poll day

Hyderabad recorded a meagre 50 per cent voter turnout, worse than its previous 53 per cent. Many denizens, however, claim it is not their fault.

Published: 08th December 2018 09:26 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th December 2018 09:26 AM   |  A+A-

Assembly elections, Vote

An old lady casting her vote in Hyderabad. (Photo| R Satish Babu/EPS)

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Hyderabad recorded a meagre 50 per cent voter turnout, worse than its previous 53 per cent. Many denizens, however, claim it is not their fault. “We were denied our right to vote,” they say. Thousands across the city were left disappointed as their names were missing in the voters lists. #whereismyvote started trending on Twitter for a while on Friday. 

MN Swamy, 102-year old voter, went all the way to his polling booth in Vijayanagar Colony to find out that his name was not on the list. Swamy, who claims to have been voting since Independence, was dejected on Friday. “In 2016, when we learnt that my father’s and my name were removed from the list, we applied again. Despite that, our names were not included,” his son M Sudhakar said. 

Jwala Gutta questions fairness of elections

Badminton star Jwala Gutta questioned the “fairness” of the electoral process after she found that her name was missing from the list. In a video message, she claimed her name was on the electoral list three weeks ago but it went missing on the polling day. Reacting to her accusation, CEO Rajat Kumar claimed her name was removed during 2015 intensive revision of rolls. “We will inquire into why that happened,” he said. 

Similar cases of names missing were reported from Secunderabad Cantonment, Kukatpally, Jubilee Hills, Sanathnagar, Secunderabad, Uppal, Maljakgiri and Yakutpura among other places. Some of them approached the Booth Level Officers and Assistant Electoral Registration Officers, but were told that they cannot cast their vote if their name isn’t on the list. “I have not changed my address in the last 20 years, I voted last time too, yet my name has gone missing this time,” says B Bhargava whose polling booth is in Market Bazaar.  

Complaints of bogus voting

There were allegations of bogus voting reported from the Karwan segment. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a member of the GHMC’s Persons With Disability (PWD) Accessibility team, stationed at the Priyadarshini School in Golconda, said that he was a witness to bogus voting. “Some people were coming and were giving two-three votes at once. The person who was to supposed to verify the identification was not doing anything. It was all in the open,” he said. 

There were also reports of several EVMs and VVPATs not working. Voting at Government Primary High School in Kulsumpura was extended by an hour as two VVPATs conked. Similar breakdown of VVPATs was reported at Wisdom School in Tallagadda.

Socialist Party of India candidate from Karwan, Lubna Sarwath turned up at one of the booths and confronted the polling staff over the issue of women’s veil. “Kausar ji entered PS 75 (polling station) with more than 12 people and warned PO against asking the women to take off their veil. Threatened me to ‘not to talk much’,” one official said. 

Senior IPS officer’s name missing 

Hyderabad: Senior police official and Director General of the Road Safety Authority, T Krishna Prasad was in for a shock on Friday after realising that his name was missing from the electoral rolls. He later tweeted: “Today I went to the polling station and was told that my name is not there in the voters list, despite having an ECI-issued voter ID and a verification (sic). I returned home dejected... My right to vote has been denied, thanks to the Election Commission.”  

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