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Poll process hitch for voters

Bhubaneswar, March 9: Polling booths in the city witnessed a mad rush with voters trying to register themselves as many could not find their names in the list displayed at the centres.

Today was a special day declared by the Election Commission of India to include names of the people, who did not figure in the voter list.

While in most of the booths, people were seen complaining about non-inclusion of their names in the revised voter list, many alleged that even after a month of filling in the application, their names were yet to be incorporated in the revised list.

Satchi Mishra, who today visited Pokhariput Upper Primary School to find his name, said: “I, along with six members of my family, have applied for a change of booth from Saheed Nagar to Pokhariput. But, not a single name was found in the list at the Pokhariput Primary School.”

Nayapalli Nuasahi resident Satyashish Swain said: “In January, I applied online to include my wife’s name in the electoral roll. I had also received an SMS regarding receipt of my application form. However, on March 7, I received another SMS asking me to visit the sub-collector’s office as my online application was not properly visible. When I reached the sub-collector’s office, they asked me to go to the Voters’ Sahayata Kendra at the chief electoral officer’s office.”

At the kendra, Swain was asked to apply manually once again as the records received online were not adequate.

“If I can generate a printout of my filled-in application form with the photograph of my wife, why is it not properly visible for registration in the electoral roll? If they have an online option which is not efficient, why is it still in use?” asked Swain.

Debasis Tarasia of Chandrasekharpur said: “I had applied to transfer my voter ID from Cuttack to Chandrasekharpur. But today, I could not find my name there. In May last, I had attempted to transfer the name, but the officials did not allow it.”

A booth-level officer (BLO) under the Ekamra Assembly constituency, however, admitted that with a widespread publicity, hundreds of people visited the centre since morning and there was utter chaos.

“We have limited people to manage the rush. Moreover, the applicants were not ready to take the filled-in applications and submit them at the sub-collector’s office. We have to take them and deposit there,” she said.

Another booth-level officer under the Bhubaneswar (central) Assembly constituency said: “We have received 80 applications to be included in the new electoral roll.” However, at several booths, the BLOs, too, were unaware of the fact that the new applications could be received from the people, who were applying fresh.

A supervisory officer for the electoral revision process said: “Today’s objective was to include both new applicants and those who had missed their names from their booths. However, the usual revision of electoral rolls are going on and people can still apply till March 28 for revision or correction.”

Chief electoral officer Mona Sharma said: “There is no need to worry as the inclusion of names in the voter list at the booths will be over within two to three weeks. We will make sure that all eligible voters can cast their votes.”

In charge of the electoral revision process Raghuram R. Iyer said: “After a week, voters can track the progress of their application on our website, and by the month-end, they would get their voter ID cards.”