GUWAHATI, Sept 21 � Genuine Indian citizens, in substantial numbers, residing in Guwahati may be deprived of a vital Constitutional right for no fault of theirs. It has come to light that many names have gone missing from the final electoral rolls. There is a fear that their inability to cast votes could actually have impact on the next Assembly election as the winning margins in the seats of Guwahati have been generally low.
Apart from instances in which people have complained about their names being left out of the electoral rolls, there are new reports about names being left out even after applicants have filled the Form 6 and other relevant forms, and submitted all required documents during the recent revision.
In one such case, the name of Sarbari Nath, a lawyer and a resident of Lachit Nagar was left out even though she had submitted all the relevant documents which are deemed essential.
Nath told The Assam Tribune that she had spent three hours in a queue to hand over the documents, after which her application was accepted. However, when the revised rolls were published, she did not figure in the list.
Dismayed by the development, she went to the DC Court of Kamrup Metro, where after some difficulty she managed to locate a senior official. But he was unable to come up with a satisfactory answer why her name had not been included in the electoral rolls.
�First he told me that he was not answerable, later he said that there were some software error during data processing for which the name could not be included�, Nath said. Later, she came to know that there were many others who like her had been told that their names were included, but could not find their names in the final draft. A personnel at the DC Court told her, �You are among the nearly six thousand whose names could not be included in the additions.�
A similar experience shocked a young student, Gargi Bhattacharya, who had duly filled up the application to register as a new voter. After checks by authorities, she was told that her application and papers were in order. However, when the new list was published, her name was missing, which would effectively debar her from voting.
Nath, who wanted to know more about the process that was involved in revising the rolls, pursued her case and finally came to see a number of lists of the Guwahati East LAC constituency. Today, she showed parts of the list to this correspondent which revealed that there was absolutely not a single addition. �How could such a thing happen? It would mean that not a single new voter has been registered in dozens of lists�what does it really imply?� she asked.
Enquiries made in the DC office revealed a confusing picture with no officials speaking openly about the omissions and commissions. However, one of them, who would not state his name, blamed it on software malfunction leading to many names being left out. Another said that the rolls will have to be further examined.
What neither admitted was that time, effort, and tax payer�s money were wasted in a process that contained inherent flaws, and would actually debar scores of people to exercise their rights if suitable interventions did not follow.