discrepancies in electoral rolls in J&K, Voters undergo 'sex change'
Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah is "65
years", his mother is "70-year old"
The "newly updated" voters list of Burn Hall School falling under
Munshi Bagh polling station in Srinagar city set up just few metres away
from chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah's residence on Gupkar Road in Srinagar,
mentions the age of senior Abdullah, son of late Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah
as 65 years at the serial number 35.Interestingly, his mother Begum Akhbar Jehan, wife of late Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah is mentioned on serial number
37 as 70 years - just five years more than the age of her son. And its
been almost two years that she has passed away........
Mr Kuldip Raj Gupta, state BJP vice president is enrolled in the voters
list showing his age as 72. His mother Karam Devi,long dead, still exists
in the electoral roll in Rajouri showing her age as 71......
Garu Ram, son of Thodu Ram in Hiranagar tehsil, situated right on the
International Border has been named as Rano Devi,wife of Sansar Chand...........
But this is just a ‘tip of ice-berg’ and most of the updated voter lists
claimed to be revised by the Election Commission are plagued with these
types of discrepancies.The Election Commission claims having updated and
computerized the electoral rolls which had been last revised in 1988.
The EC says it has resulted in 200,000 fresh entries in the rolls, which
were drafted in Urdu with the help of the Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy and
the UP chief electoral officer.
While most of the voters and political parties have been alleging discrepancies
in the voters list, the Election Commission refused to concede.
"Well, to what extent have you received such complaints?" asks Chief
Electoral Officer ,J&K Mr Pramod Jain asked The Statesman ."Do you
have specific instances"? asks the defensive official.However, when
supplied with instances, he just shrugs it off by coming out with a little
answer: "These discrepancies are just one per cent of the total lists."
While the "non-friendly" CEO who always chooses to remain away from
the media, refuses to oblige with the details on the issue, his juniors
however concede that many discrepancies exist in the list.
Mr B.D.Sharma, Deputy Commissioner Kathua, who is also the District
Election Officer told The Statesman that though the discrepancies exist
in the voters list, they have trying to get these rectified till the last
"We have also given instructions to our staff to modify these if there
are some minor changes like if the name of the person in Hansraj but voters
list has Hans Ram or the like, he can be allowed to vote,"said Sharma.
Notwithstanding the fact that "computerized up-to-date electoral rolls
ensuring free and fair polls" in Urdu have been kept ready, political parties
are quite unhappy with the Election Commission for such howlers in the
Interestingly, many voters of the state have undergone sex change in
these lists, male voters have been shown as females and vice-versa, living
people have been shown as dead, while as the dead persons have become alive.
Besides, the total number of voters has witnessed a steep decline than
the number that was registered in previous lists.Insiders say that more
than two lakh voters, long dead, still figure in the electoral rolls in
various parts of the state. There is also total difference in the voter
lists that are published in Devnagri and Urdu. It becomes evident after
going through these lists that addresses of maximum voters are missing
in Urdu electoral rolls.
Another issue which has triggered a debate is among political parties
is that these lists show a increase in the voters strength in some constituencies
in the Jammu region.
Forced by these howlers, the Union Minister of State for Defence, Prof
Chaman Lal Gupta, has written to the Chief Electoral Officer expressing
apprehensions over 38 to 40 per cent increase in voters strength in the
past five years in more than 12 constituencies in the Jammu region whereas
in other Assembly segments the increase was between two and three per cent
besides asking him to look into the matter. Even, Mr
Kuldip Raj Gupta, state BJP vice president had recently told a local newspaper
that the voters lists of Darhal, Rajouri, Kalakot, Poonch, Gool,
Gulabgarh, Haveli and Mendhar constituencies show an increase of
37 to 40 per cent since the 1996 Assembly poll while the percentage of
increase in other constituencies has not been more than two to five.
Jammu voters strength has been increased by 28.56 per cent in the past
five years. Against this, there has been an increase of 7.37 per cent in
the Kashmir valley and 24.98 per cent in Ladakh region.People say this
increase has not kept pace with the increase in the population in the three
The latest J&K Census figures show that Kashmir valley has registered
a 73 per cent increase in its population between 1981 and 2001 census against
60 per cent in the Jammu region. The 2001 census shows that the population
in the Kashmir valley increased by 10.50 lakh during the past 20 years
and in the Jammu region by over 3.50 lakh. However, the voters strength
in the Jammu region increased by over eight lakh against the rise of three
per cent in the Kashmir valley.
The political leaders have also been complaining that in some of the
Valley constituencies, there is a sharp decline in the total number of
voters if compared with the previous lists. For example, Chadoora constituency
of Kashmir Valley has a total number of 46,106 as per the new list while
in 1996, it was 54,926 . Similarly, in Sonawari constituency of Baramulla
district, the number of voters in the recent voters list is 51,133 while
in previous list, it is 52,824.Likewise, in Habbakadal constituency 58,363
voters figured in existing list while as the total number was 58,966 voters
in previous list.
Prof Bhim Singh, Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party president,
who only had circulated a ‘up-to-date’ voter list among scribes here in
which age differences of Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah and his late
mother was shown just five years, says that the elections should
be postponed to rectify these loopholes in the rolls.
"There is no fun holding elections before removing these discrepancies.On
one hand both Centre and State Government assure free and fair elections
in J&K while on the other hand even voter lists are not streamlined,he
said adding that free and fair elections were not possible on the basis
of present 'updated' rolls.
Voters also express apprehension that several genuine electorates may
be unable to exercise their right of franchise in coming elections. "I
had applied to include my name in the fresh voter lists, but it has not
been done till now and I am looking for my name,"said one Shah Hussain.