Voters find the going tough to get into electoral roll in Uttarakhand

Dehra Dun : The Election Commission of India has launched a drive for sample checking and registration of new voters. And while it may be a constitutional necessity to register the new voters or those who may have shifted from one town to another, so that their names are registered in the voters list and they can practice their franchise, but the Uttarakhand government is taking the matter very lightly.

There has been no publicity of the dates and the manner in which new voters who have just turned 18 or more, or those who have shifted from one town to another on transfer or otherwise can register themselves.

Apparently the chief electoral officer, feels that the people who have to register themselves will get a brain wave as to where they have to go with their forms to register themselves.

And those who were taking interest in getting themselves registered had to run from pillar to post. The concerned authorities at the election office at the district court premises did not have the forms for either getting names deleted from one constituency or forms for getting names entered into the voting list of another constituency. Interested persons were asked to get Photostat copies of forms done.

Surprisingly, after filling the forms, there was no one at any place to guide the persons how to fill the forms and what were the required documents that needed to be attached. Though officials claimed that persons had been deputed with the requisite material at the polling booths of various wards, but they were hardly available at any given time.

There were even allegations that if a person was found at the polling station of a ward, a prospective voter was made to run in circles.

“First they said to get an address proof, then second time they asked for a an identity proof and when both of these were provided, they asked for a photograph, meaning that one had to make a trip to the place three times, which was harassing”, alleged a prospective voter.

Efforts were made to get in touch with the chief electoral officer so that the discrepancies could be brought to her notice, and some arrangements be made for the convenience of the people, but as is the wont of the bureaucrats in Uttarakhand, she remained unavailable.

“The chief electoral officer is out”, was the curt reply of her personal assistant, all the time efforts were made to get in touch with her.

A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt is Editor Hill Post (Uttarakhand). Jagdish has worked with India's leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, Jagdish is a recipient of many awards, latest being the 2011 Development Journalism Award. He lives in Dehra Dun.

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