Governance Now Visionary Talks Series

Where is my right to vote?

Why “Mera Aadhaar, Meri Pehchan” is not enough to avail my right to vote

pragya

Praggya Guptaa | February 11, 2017 | New Delhi


#UP elections 2017   #western UP   #Noida   #voting   #right to vote  


Today was the election day for Western Uttar Pradesh. There was so much excitement in people coming out of polling booths, just as the people coming from a Dusshera Mela (The festival of triumph of good over evil). 
 
While I was on my way with my brother to cast our votes, we saw people coming out of the booths happy and content, which pepped up our excitement too. Most of the people in the crowd were from the village. When we reached the polling area, there was lot of hue and cry among people looking for their names on the voter list. Reaching to the polling station was also not that easy, it was far for many people and narrow alleys made it difficult to cross by car. Many people were disappointed as they could not vote because their names didn’t appear in the electoral list despite having their voter id card in hand.
 
We live in Noida for the past seven years. Along with my family, I applied for my voter ID card in the last Lok Sabha elections but only two out of four managed to cast a vote. My brother and I were disappointed to have missed our chance. So, for this year’s UP election, we applied again and got ourselves enroled on the list of voters. But even this time, only I managed to cast my vote. 
 
We kept searching for my brother’s name in various lists but could not find it in any of them. Misled by various booth level officers (BLOs), we visited many booths to find his name but unfortunately we didn’t, despite efforts put in earlier and regular follow ups with the administration to get our names. 
 
My brother lost his chance to vote again. The blind-eyed administration snatched his right to vote. Many people like him could not get their right to vote. In our country, we can get our passport, Aadhaar, and other documents easily but not our right to vote.
 
Now, these people have been left dependent on others’ vote for the fate of the state for next five years. After seeing so many people disappointed, I am wondering what makes it so difficult to get a name in the electoral list despite having all valid documents like Aadhaar, passport, etc. Why it that our bank accounts, subsidies, and SIM cards can be linked to Aadhaar but not our votes? What does the administration do with our requests and submitted forms?  Why “Mera Aadhaar, Meri Pehchan” is not enough to avail my right to vote.
 

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