GHMC polls: Lubna Sarwath fumes as SEC ‘refuses’ free electoral rolls

Hyderabad: Social activist Lubna Sarwath on Friday alleged that the Telangana government and the State Election Commission is not providing free electoral rolls for the candidates running independently or from small parties in the ensuing Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) elections.

The activist, who is independently contesting from the Asif Nagar division said, “First, they are not being fair in not making available the electoral rolls for free for all the candidates. For the big parties, who already receive money through electoral bonds, the electoral rolls are free. It is the independent candidates and the ones from non-registered parties that need to pay an amount of Rs.3,600 to obtain the electoral roll.”

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An official from SEC too confirmed the same. On request of anonymity, he said, “The rules prescribe only the candidates from the registered parties can get free electoral rolls from the returning officer.”

Lubna Sarwath had made a request to obtain electoral rolls of her division on Friday. Shocked that they were not available for free, she offered to make a digital payment to the concerned official to fetch the rolls. She said that neither SEC nor the GHMC has provided an online facility to pay the prescribed Rs.3,600 for the electoral roll.

“When the Election Commission is insisting on digital payments for all the election expenditure, why haven’t they provided an online payment gateway to obtain electoral rolls as well? Is the Digital India selective?” she asked.

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A vocal socio-political-environmental activist, Lubna Sarwath had earlier stood for the last Lok Sabha elections, contesting against sitting Hyderabad Lok Sabha MP and AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi. She also contested the 2018 Assembly elections from Karwan constituency.

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