Homeless deprived of voting rights

Homeless deprived of voting rights

 Karnataka’s electorate has increased from 1.06 crore in 1957 to 4.36 crore this year with over 70 lakh from Bangalore.

Compared to the Assembly elections in 2008, over 13 lakh new voters have been added to the City’s electoral roll to take it to 70 lakh, but not a single homeless person from Bangalore has been able to make it to the list, which provides them with one of the basic, yet powerful rights.

Just weeks after the date for the elections were announced, several of the shelterless persons had hopes of casting votes with some officers having taken proactive initiatives to help them obtain an EPIC and also see to it that their names are in the list of voters.

By the end of March, based on the directions from the special officer (Election Commission) on deputation at the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike, the election registration officers (EROs) and revenue officers were to identify such people and add them to the list after due verification.

Three weeks later, in April, they had not done their job. They had only received 61 applications, which were submitted by the shelterless people with the help of NGOs.
On the day of polling on Sunday, not even one of the 61 applicants had their names entered in the list or provided with the EPIC, leave alone the hopes of having identified other shelterless persons in the City and help them vote.

The dye, it now appears, had been cast much before all this. As thousands of shelterless people see another election pass by without their opinion cast on the results, officials concerned were too busy to comment on why these people were denied an opportunity to vote.

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