Right to vote a far cry for villagers in Prakasam district
The villagers have been filing petitions at the Spandana grievance redressal programme, revenue offices and the State and Central Election Commissions after 306 names were deleted from the voter list.
ONGOLE: It has been a nightmare for more than a hundred villagers of M Vemulapadu in Prakasam district to regain their right to vote after 306 names were deleted from the voter list before the gram panchayat polls in 2019.
While 200 villagers tasted victory a few months back after they regained their right to vote, others still continue to struggle. Though a few of them have been receiving social security pensions, they have been deprived of their fundamental right.
According to the villagers, their names were deleted from the voters’ list without citing any reason. “It was shocking to see the names of villagers deleted from the voters’ list in a few wards, such as Ward no-1, Ward no-5 and Ward no-9. It was an intentional move to target supporters of a particular party,” gram panchayat head Marella Srinivas Rao, who won the polls with a margin of 360 votes, told TNIE.
Electoral registration officer to submit report
The villagers have been filing petitions at the Spandana grievance redressal programme, revenue offices and the State and Central Election Commissions ever since then. However, all their pleas have been in vain. Disgusted villagers knocked on the doors of the High Court and issued notices to district officials.
“After the intervention of the court, over 200 voters’ names have been re-entered recently,’’ PV Ramana Rao, a villager said. According to the authorities, the other names don’t find a mention in the voters’ list as they are considered bogus entries.
“We have already submitted our objections and have requested district-level officers and even the high court to help us regain our right to vote,” he said. When this newspaper contacted the revenue district officer (RDO) R Srilatha, she said that the matter had come to her notice.
“We came to know that the names of voters have been deleted. We have formed a committee to look into the matter. The electoral registration officer of the Santahnutalapadu Assembly segment will submit a report,’’ she stated. The RDO added that action would be taken based on the report.