Uttam sees conspiracy in deletion of 21 lakh voters

Uttam sees conspiracy in deletion of 21 lakh voters
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Telangana Congress President Capt. Uttam Kumar Reddy addressing a press conference at party office in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) President N. Uttam Kumar Reddy on Tuesday said that there could be a larger conspiracy behind deletion of over 21 voters from the electoral rolls of Telangana State.

Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan, Uttam Kumar Reddy expressed serious concerns over the declining number of voters in Telangana. He pointed out that there about 2.81 crore voters in 2014 elections. However, as per the draft rolls published by the Election Commission on India on September 1, 2018, their number has reduced to 2.60 crore. “Where have over 21 lakh voters gone?” he asked.

Uttam Kumar Reddy said the decrease in numbers was totally abnormal. “Except for the voters who passed away, all other voters must figure in the electoral rolls in one constituency or the other if they had shifted their residences. But deletion of more than 21 lakh names is not justifiable. The actual number of deletion in the last four years will be much higher if we add the number of fresh voters who enrolled themselves during revision of electoral rolls. In the current year, nearly 8 lakh new voters have registered their names. Therefore, we seriously suspect that some forces have been tampering with the electoral rolls of Telangana State,” he said while alleging that thousands of names were also deleted from the electoral rolls during the GHMC elections in 2016.

The TPCC president said that all the Congress workers have been directed to check the electoral rolls of their respective polling booths in their constituencies to find the deletions, wrong entries or corrections. The Election Commission of India has started the Special Summary Revision of Electoral Rolls, 2019, from 1st September and the booth presidents of all 31,600 polling booths have been directed to actively participate in the exercise. He said young boys and girl, who will turn 18 years as on 1st January, 2019, must enrol themselves in the electoral rolls. He said Assembly-level meetings have been convened on September 7 wherein the booth presidents would be handed over the draft rolls with an instruction to cross check the entries by physically visiting all the households. He said mandal and division-level meetings for urban areas will be held on September 9 to undertake the process. He said all sections of the society should take a serious note of removal of genuine voters in such large numbers and take utmost precautions.

New electors who will complete the age of 18 years as on January 1, 2019 (those born before January 1, 2001), can submit Form 6 for inclusion of their names. Indian citizens living abroad can submit Form 6A for inclusion of their names. Form 7 has to be submitted for deletion of names. Electors can apply for correction in name by submitting Form-8 and those who have shifted residence within Assembly constituency can submit Form 8A for address change.

Uttam Kumar Reddy made three major demands with the Elections Commission of India. He said the electoral rolls should be 100% correct and all eligible persons should get their voting rights. Further, he said on the lines of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh, employees of Telangana should be trained in operating Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) and other electoral processes. He said in view of indications of early Assembly polls in Telangana, the Election Commission too should make proper arrangements to ensure a free and fair elections. He also demanded that the process of demarcation of Assembly boundaries in seven mandals of Khammam which were merged with Andhra Pradesh at the time of bifurcation must be completed before taking the poll process.

The TPCC Chief informed that a petition in the Supreme Court has been filed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh Congress seeking transparency in the voting process through EVMs. He said Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) too has decided to implead in the petition wherein a direction would be sought from the Supreme Court to the Election Commission to randomly verify VVPAT slips with EVM votes at 10 per cent of polling stations in every constituency. Further, he said the visibility time of VVPAT paper trail should be increased from 7 seconds to 15 seconds. He said the task of transporting EVMs should not be assigned to private parties.

Uttam Kumar Reddy said that the Election Commission should be extra-cautious and ultra-alert in Telangana as the ruling TRS has been trying to influence the voters using money power and police force. Commenting on the public meeting held by TRS, he said unlike the title ‘Pragathi Nivedana Sabha’, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao did not speak anything on the status of electoral promises which he made with the people in 2014 elections. He predicted that the TRS would be swept away in the Congress wave in next elections. He said that the Congress party was fully ready for elections, whenever they are held.

Meanwhile, TPCC Election Coordination Committee chairman Marri Sashidhar Reddy alleged that TRS could fall to any level to win elections. He pointed out that in the elections for Dantanpalli Sarpanch in Utnoor mandal of Adilabad district in 2017, as many as 740 votes in three Tandas were deleted from the electoral rolls and the seat was won by TRS with a margin of just 18 votes.

Senior leaders including Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir, former PCC Presidents Ponnala Lakshmaiah and V. Hanumantha Rao and others were also present.