Voter deletions in AP Vs. Voter deletion in Telangana - The contrast in EC & media’s response!

With respect to voter deletions in Andhra Pradesh as filed by several people from across the state, the Election Commission has responded swiftly and assured action. In fact, it has received large-scale applications on deletion of 8 lakh voters in the state, as a result of 45 cases booked in 9 districts on these charges. 

While State Election Commissioner has come forward to look into these serious complaints, he said that a firm action will be taken against people misusing Form-7 to seek removal of names of eligible voters. Meanwhile, verification of voters list is underway in the state with just two months for the elections. There are allegations that nearly 13 lakh voters’ names have been deleted so far in Andhra Pradesh and they will be verified and put back in place, before polling. 

However, contrast this with Telangana Assembly Elections. Nearly 27 lakh voters were deleted from the list, with highest being from Kukatpally and Serilingampally constituencies. Despite repeated appeals to the Election Commission by several voters even a month before polling, there was no response or action from the EC. Additionally, some of the names that were on the list went missing on the polling day in Telangana.
A day after polling in Telangana, it was clear that 27 lakh voters’ names were missing from the list while the State Election Commissioner blamed voters for not verifying earlier. However, recently, Telangana State election commissioner said that the state added nearly 20 lakh voters for the Lok Sabha polls. The case of missing voters in Telangana got into media only after a PIL was filed by a whistleblower following polling. There was no debate nor any response from the government on taking any action before elections, despite repeated appeals from citizens. 

The current outburst over voter deletion in Andhra Pradesh is understandable and justified from voters. And, the Election Commission has responded swiftly to verify and check these claims. But, political observers question why the appeals of voters in Telangana before elections were not paid heed to? “Why didn’t the government or the TRS party bother about it? Even the Election Commissioner said it was people’s mistake. Can a person of that stature who is responsible, actually blame voters who made appeals? It is evident about how the media also chose to ignore it, until the High Court took up the case. It shows how Media is stifled in Telangana,” he said. 

Commenting on the case of voter deletion, he said: “It is good that these cases have come up and that the Election Commission has begun the process of verification. Look at how the EC is working in AP, where it has immediately responded. That is how democratic institutions should function. Even the government has given a go ahead to the EC and said that it supports this verification as they would understand if Form-7 is being misused by the Opposition Party or any other voters,” he said. 

Meanwhile, many social media users also point to the contrast in media’s reports with respect to voter deletions in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Some say that YSRCP bringing TRS into picture has made matters worse. “In the name of data theft, voter deletion and relating both these unconnected cases, they YSRCP involved the Telangana police. This has made matters worse,” said a user. 

Another netizen pointed out that in Telangana the voter deletion issue got sidetracked after KCR won. He said “No one really bothered about it and it worked for TRS government that no one questioned it. Not even the media.” Responding to AP’s voter deletion cases, a user added that “look at how the media is hounding the AP government. It is all over the news. What happened to media in Hyderabad when the same case came up in Telangana? Double-faced media,” he wrote on Twitter.

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