Mumbai Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Missing Names, Long Queues Mar Voting At Kalyan, Bhiwandi

Mumbai Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Missing Names, Long Queues Mar Voting At Kalyan, Bhiwandi

Several long-time voters in Kalyan West area, which is part of the Bhiwandi seat, were in for a rude shock when they reach their polling booths on Monday morning.

Musab QaziUpdated: Tuesday, May 21, 2024, 01:05 AM IST
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Representative Image | ECI

Polling at Kalyan and Bhiwandi constituencies in Chief Minister Eknath Shinde’s Thane backyard was subdued as voters complained of missing names in electoral rolls and a slow voting process. A few polling centres in Bhiwandi also witnessed high drama as the incumbent MP, Kapil Patil, made accusations of bogus voting.

The two constituencies, which, between them, cover Mumbai’s satellite towns Kalyan-Dombivali, Bhiwandi, Ulhasnagar, Ambernath and Badlapur, as well as much of the rural swathe of Thane district, saw a turnout of 41.7% and 48.89%, respectively, according to the provisional data released by the Election Commission at 5pm on Monday. These figures are significantly lower than 45.31% and 53.2% voting recorded in the last Lok Sabha election in 2019. Incidentally, the CM’s son, Shrikant Shinde, is hoping to get re-elected from Kalyan.

Several long-time voters in Kalyan West area, which is part of the Bhiwandi seat, were in for a rude shock when they reach their polling booths on Monday morning, as they were told that their names were missing from electoral rolls. They realised that, several names, especially the ones with Electors Photo Identification Card (EPIC) numbers beginning with ‘MT’ were inexplicably deleted from the voting lists. They raised the issue with the polling officials, but to no avail.

“I have been voting in every Lok Sabha election since 2005, including the last one. But when I checked my name online on the Election Commission’s website before voting it was nowhere to be found. I thought it would be due to some error in the system, but when I went to the polling station I was denied the chance to vote. It was very surprising, as there has been no change in my address or any other information. The names of my wife and other family members are intact, though,” said Vinayak Mali, one of the complainants.

Shiv Sena’s Kalyan city head Ravi Patil alleged that there were as many as one lakh names missing from Kalyan and Bhiwandi electoral rolls. “The voters are saying that our right to vote has been snatched. The Election Commission should take action. Many names have been labelled as deleted. There are changes in other names,” he told to a media outlet.

The voters also complained about an unusually slow voting process at certain booths. “The queues for voting were moving at a snail’s pace at some booths. One of my friends had to wait for an hour and a half before he could cast his vote. My wife also faced the same ordeal,” said Saalim Shaikh, a voter at Kalyan.

Meanwhile, the atmosphere at some polling centres in Bhiwandi got tense when Patil visited them in the evening. Viral videos showed the MP, who was the BJP’s candidate from the constituency, resorting to foul language as he confronted police and polling officials about bogus voting purportedly taking place at the booths.

Shrikant Paropkari, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone II) of Thane, confirmed the incident at one of the polling centres at Shanti Nagar area of the city. “The candidate used offensive language and complained about bogus voting, though there was no bogus voting taking place. He objected to the presence of people who had already voted on the premises of the polling centre, who were driven away. We are yet to register a complaint,” he said.

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