BENGALURU: Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Special Commissioner, administration, S Rangappa, and Chief Commissioner Tushar Girinath on Friday said the names of six lakh voters were deleted not because of political pressure, but due to duplication.
Girinath said the permission for Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) was given to the Chilume Educational, Cultural and Rural Development Organisation, an NGO, on October 28, while the process had started much earlier. “I don’t think there is any link to Chilume in the deletion process. The matter, however, is being investigated by the police,” he added.
Defending the State Election Commission and BBMP officials, Girinath and Rangappa said the rules were adhered to while revising the voter list. Asked whether the BBMP succumbed to pressure before giving permission to Chilume, Girinath said, “The NGO was engaged in SVEEP from 2018 and based on its track record, it was allowed to conduct the exercise with certain conditions. It was also given the task of linking Aadhaar with voter IDs. But now, complaints have been filed against them. One complaint stated that it was sourcing private data. The police are now investigating allegations of private data collection and theft of voter information.”
He said that all additional district election officers have been set a deadline of 48 hours to give a detailed report. Action will be taken if officials have a role in giving voter information to the NGO, he added.
Rangappa said Chilume and Lokesh, one of its representatives, created identity cards in the name of BLO without permission and went door-to-door collecting personal information of voters. This information was misused, he added.
“The BBMP probed the organisation and the report is ready. Once it is verified by the chief commissioner, it will be submitted to the State Election Commission,” Rangappa said and added that no BBMP official has so far been arrested or suspended in this connection. Rangappa said action will be taken against erring officials, once the investigation report comes in, including against ARO Chandrashekhar, he added.
BOOTH-LEVEL OFFICERS WILL BE GIVEN NEW ID CARDS
To eliminate chances of confusion and anomalies in the collection and revision of voters’ identification list, BBMP Special Commissioner, elections, Rangappa said that in the next two days, officials will be given special ID cards, which citizens can check and verify, before sharing details for the voters’ list. These cards will also be given to booth-level officers, which will have a separate logo and a number, he said. Staffers assigned to collect and verify details are local people from the neighbourhood (appointed by the BBMP), government school teachers and government officials, he added. “Every citizen must ask for the ID proof of those who come to collect details. They can call up the ward or zonal BBMP office to cross-verify the details of the person,” he said.