Jamiat campaign to restore missing names in electoral rolls

Published : Oct 25, 2018 18:51 IST

With the emergence of startling reports about the gradual disenfranchisement of Muslims, leaders in the community have decided to launch a nationwide campaign to reinstate in the electoral roll Muslims whose names have been deleted from it. Taking the lead in this is the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, which believes that the community members’ names have been excluded to weaken the electoral worth of Muslims in the 2019 general election.

The news of the missing names of lakhs of Muslims first trickled in in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Karnataka earlier this year. At one stage, almost 25 per cent of the Muslim voters in the State found their names missing from the rolls. The problem could be only partially remedied by the time of the election.

It was then found that the situation was similar in Tamil Nadu, where every fourth member of the community found he/she could not exercise the right to franchise guaranteed under the Constitution. In other States, notably Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, the situation was not too dissimilar.

Within the community, the thinking was that this was a ploy to prevent Muslims from playing a significant role in electoral politics. Incidentally, the exclusion of the names of Muslim voters  came on the heels of the Bharatiya Janata Party failing to nominate a single Muslim to contest elections in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and other States where elections were held.

Now, the Jamiat plans to counter this exclusion through a social campaign, asking voters to find out if their names were missing. And if they were, to immediately take remedial measures with proper documents to buttress their case. The decision was taken at an apex meeting of the Jamiat in New Delhi this week.

The party expressed grave concern at the missing names in view of the general election next year and issued an advisory to its State-level units to launch an awareness programme towards re-enlistment, as was the case in Karnataka following the disclosure by the Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy that every fourth Muslim found his name missing from the electoral rolls in the State.

The Jamiat's stand has come about largely because of media reports of voters finding themselves excluded from the electoral process in Delhi, too, where the community is in a position to affect the fortunes of candidates in at least three Lok Sabha seats. “We cannot afford to take it casually. It is unlikely to be a mere clerical error, as some people tend to believe,” said a Jamiat official soon after internal deliberations within the party.


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