Former MP contestant, many others find names missing from voter list in Telangana

screenshot of the ceotelangana site

By Nikhat Fatima,

Hyderabad: Dr Lubna Sarwath, who contested from Malakpet constituency on behalf of the Aam Aadmi Party in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, one day randomly checked for her name in the voter’s list and was shocked to find that her name was missing.

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As a result, she sent a series of emails to the CEO (Chief Election Officer) of the district, GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) Commissioner, Complaint Forum, Election Commission along with informing different NGOs and people in the media.

serial No 11. Lubna sarwath having contested from AAP in 2014

When the news of her name missing from the electoral list emerged, other eligible voters began looking up the official website of the Telangana government to search for their names. And almost in all the constituencies / Wards, there were many names missing from the voter list.

Before approaching the Election officer personally, Dr Lubna called up the grievances cell, only to find that the numbers listed on the site were ‘unavailable’.

The authorities had no explanations when Dr Lubna asked on what basis her voter identity was deleted when she neither changed her residential address nor moved from Hyderabad. Instead, she was informed that the GHMC Election Commissioner and ERO (Electoral Registration officer) are the right agencies where she can get a satisfactory answer.

The ERO said they do not have the updated list of voters and one of his staff members informed her that the IRER (intensive revision of electoral roll) was outsourced to another agency and they may have erroneously deleted her name and also that of so many others. But still, even the outsourced agency should have a record of the voter identities deleted by them stating the reason for deleting which could be the death of the voter, migration, residence change and/or other issues. But surprisingly, there were no records of any of the deleted identities.

In her letter to the CEO, Dr Lubna said, “This is outrageous and demeaning, to say the least. With all the technology and staff at disposal, this is just an example of how shabbily the electoral revisions are being conducted in the most important agency of democracy, the ECI.  This in spite of ‘historical’ ‘samaikya Telangana’ surveys held in our state!  Is this the status of ‘National Electoral Roll Purification and authentication Process’ NERPAP”?

The authorities took 3 days’ time in which they assured they would answer her queries. But no explanation was given to her. However, the officials and other personnel from the department visited her house to collect relevant documents to make a new voter Id for Dr Lubna in a bid to pacify her. But these attempts failed.

She joined as an impleader in the case filed by Mari Shashidar Reddy, Ex MLA and senior leader of the Indian National Congress who has complained about the irregularities in the preparation of revised electoral rolls and deletion of genuine voters’ names. His appeal also pointed out that the early polls in Telangana will deprive nearly 18 lakh youth of their voting right as they turn 18 by January.

The High Court of Telangana after the first hearing on October 4 has now set the next hearing on October 31 to decide on the matter.

When contacted by, Lubna Sarwath said, “This deletion of genuine voter identities appears to be a kind of conspiracy to accommodate bogus votes. I have been forced to apply as a new voter now. And none of the government agencies I approached have any answer as to why they have deleted my voter id. Are they not answerable to us?”

She also said that when she sent an e-complaint for her voter ID to be restored, she got an SMS from the department that her complaint has been registered and then in a few hours she received another SMS saying that her complaint has been disposed of. But nothing was really done. It is important to point out that once deleted, even the Election commission cannot restore the voter ID.

SMS received from the complaints forum

Dr Lubna, who is now associated with the Socialist Party (India) also called on all other political parties to boycott the elections and have the electoral rolls cleaned. contacted a few other eligible voters who found their names deleted from the list.

Chandrashekar from Yapral, Malkajgiri constituency said, “Around 50 persons’ voter ids have been deleted in our ward. And this is not the first time. Before the general elections in 2014, we had applied for fresh voter IDs. After we voted in 2014, now our names are missing in the voting list. And we have applied as new voters again.”

Another voter Md. Sardar who is also a social activist from Malakpet constituency said, “I have access to a computer and I could search for my name on the website. I and my family members have applied for a new voter ID now. But there may be so many others who do not have access to a computer system to search for their names and so many others who may not even be aware that their names have been deleted.”

Many people are waiting for the Hyderabad High Court order which will decide if the revised electoral rolls are genuine or not. And if they are not genuine and if the Court asks for a new revised electoral roll, it may mean the elections that have been slated for November may not take place in Telangana.