Illegal migrants preferred over salaried class in poll rolls

Illegal migrants preferred over salaried class in poll rolls

Migrant workers in the city with no valid documents have got voter identity cards without much hassle, while the white-collared citizens find their voter ID applications summarily rejected by the city authorities.

Small groups of migrant workers have paid a nominal fee to their caretakers, who got them their IDs without breaking a sweat. Caretakers have leveraged their influence with local leaders, who had asked election officials at the BBMP to issue the IDs quickly, say some leaders.

By contrast, thousands of salaried professionals living in the city for years together were left in shock to find their application to obtain the voter identity rejected. Many of nearly 15,000 of them in Mahadevapura constituency, who applied online recently, learnt of the rejection without a reason.

"The Mahadevapura constituency has the highest number of illegal immigrants, about 35,000," said Dr Venkatesh Mourya, a potential candidate in the constituency. "Most of them have been issued voter IDs and Aadhaar cards as well."

The workers come to the city without valid documents, Dr Mourya claimed. Hailing from states bordering Bangladesh, they work at construction sites and stay at the labour sheds in Avalahalli, Kathamanalloor, Hunsethoppu, Yemaluru, Thubarahalli, Munekolala and Bellandur, he added.

"Around 6,000 migrants have been issued voter IDs and Aadhaar cards. In the KR Puram constituency, 42 labourers were given identity cards with a single shed at Horamavu-Agara as their address," Dr Mourya said.

He said educated voters are left out in the fear that they would vote for a certain party, while local leaders prefer migrant labourers to be on the rolls in the name of safeguarding the minorities and upholding secularism.

The BBMP officials recently rejected 8,867 out of 13,395 online applicants in Mahadevapura constituency, with local leaders hinting that the rejected applicants are educated professionals from northern states. The reason for the rejection is best known to the ruling party, lamented Srinivas Reddy from the citizens group, Whitefield Rising.

"Applications of software professionals and apartment dwellers in Nellurahalli, Hoodi, Kadugodi, Whitefield, Immadihalli and some parts of Varthur have also been rejected. These people have been living in the city for five to six years," he said.

The BBMP's election officials, however, said acceptance or rejection of voter application is subject to the discretion of the electoral registration officer. It is a judicial order and is subject to appeal with supporting documents, spot inspection and other procedures.

"When an application is submitted, the electoral registration officer will make a summary inquiry as per the law," said K N Ramesh, Joint Chief Electoral Officer (Technical-1). "After he is satisfied that the applicant is a resident of the stated address, he/or she is issued the voter ID."

"If the officer is not convinced with the application, he might reject it," he added.

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