EC apologises as over 3 lakh names go missing in Mumbai voters' list

The Election Commission today apologised for turning away lakhs of eligible voters from polling stations for failure to include their names in the voters list in Mumbai and Pune.

Names of at least three lakh people were missing in the voters list in various Lok Sabha constituencies in Mumbai. Among them were HDFC chairman Deepak Parekh, lawyer Ram Jethmalani and actor Atul Kulkarni.

In Pune also, names in large numbers were missing from the voters' lists.

The Shiv Sena and the BJP held the Election Commission (EC) responsible for the goof-up even as the BJP candidate from Mumbai North-East constituency Kirit Somaiya said he would file an FIR against the poll officials.

Many voters said the denial of voting right to such a large number of people t is a calculated move to rig the elections.

One BJP activist in Mumbai South-Central constituency said he will file a public interest litigation (PIL) against the commission.

The parliamentary seat covers areas like Mahim, Dadar, Dharavi, Sion, Wadala, Chembur and Mankhurd.

Scores of residents found their names missing from the list in Sahkar Nagar in Wadala, where poll officials refused to cooperate. Voters now plan to move the Mumbai High Court.

In Wadala alone, at least 20,000 names were missing from the list in 222 booths, with an average of 100 names missing from each booth. Names given in English also get a different version when written in Marathi versions of the voters' list.

A section of Matunga residents too have sought re-election in Mumbai South-Central constituency. They have sent a letter to the district collector in this regard.

In Borivali (west) hundreds of voters were gathered outside Rajda Municipal School to protest against their names missing from the voter's list. A complaint filed by one Bharat Jain said about 500 people with their names and signatures were missing in the list.

"We will look into the matter and we apologise for the inconvenience caused to voters," election commissioner H S Brahma said.

The EC, however, said voters cannot vote again in this election, but the error would be corrected before the Maharashtra assembly election later this year.

The names were reportedly left out in "a clean-up" drive to remove voters who have been missing in action for long.

The supervision and verification had been faulty, admitted Brahma, who is one of the three election commissioners.

He said voters were also partly responsible as they could have pointed out that their names were missing on 9 March, when the final voters' lists were verified.