Voter Registration Camps in Many Places irk Citizens
Voter registration camps held across the city, ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to be held in April this year, were supposed to help those who could not register over the last few months. However, the attitude of Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials and misinformation on the venue left many residents fuming.
“The announcements with regard to the camps said that voter registrations could be done at booth offices. But most of the places we went to were locked. Nobody really knew what to do and many went back home. Some of us decided to give the ward office a shot and finally registered at the ward office,” said Narayan Rao, a resident of Manorayanapalya.
B David, a resident of Nanjamma Layout, said the BBMP officials who had been assigned the task of registering voters were not helpful at all.
“We tried to get as many people to register and managed to get about 200 members from various slums to register. But when they tried, the officials gave various excuses and rejected their applications. We finally took all the applications, sorted them out and managed to get them registered,” he said.
He said the officials were supposed to work from 9 am to 5 pm to ensure maximum registration. “They went for lunch at 1.30 pm and came back at 3.30 pm. Then they decided to shut shop at 4 pm itself. We finally had to argue with them and convince them to keep registering till 4.40 pm at least,” he said.
There were at least 4,000 applications that were filed at these offices.
Similar problems existed in areas like RT Nagar and Jayamahal ward offices. However, the camp was helpful for those who persevered.
“Usually, we see about ten registrations on weekdays, but during the duration of the camp, we saw at least 400 registrations,” said Wazir Ahmed, Revenue Inspector at Jayamahal ward.
He said many of those registering were youngsters and first time voters. “It is nice to see their excitement in being able to vote for the first time,” he said.
For others, the camp was one last attempt to get an Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) and enrol in the voters’ list.
Syed Zabiullah, a final year engineering student, made his third attempt in getting his details in the EPIC correct. “The first time I got the EPIC card, my name was spelt wrong. The second time, my date of birth was wrong. I have to apply for a passport and need the details in my EPIC card to be correct so that I can use it as a proof document. I hope this time at least it works,” he said.
For Laskhmi Narayan, a software engineer, this is his third attempt. “I tried to get my wife and me registered online. But when we checked here, the ID was not there. We uploaded the documents again, but were told that the registration has already been done with these details, but we are yet to receive our EPIC card or our names included in the list. This is one last attempt ahead of these elections to get ourselves registered and get an EPIC card,” he said.
“Booths were kept open till 5 pm. Those near ward offices were closed, but the ones that were quite far from ward offices were open. At least 95 percent of the offices were open,” said BBMP Commissioner, Lakshminarayana.
With regard to complaints of unhelpful officials at the office, the Commissioner said that strict instructions were given to keep the offices open till 5 pm and in many places the officers worked beyond 5 pm to facilitate registrations. “Any complaints can be addressed to me and I will look into it,” he said.