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Voters cry foul over bogus voting in pilgrim city

Food packets being distributed to outsiders in Tirupati on Saturday
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Food packets being distributed to outsiders in Tirupati on Saturday

Highlights

  • Senior citizens express concern over they being denied the right to vote and others casting their votes before they reached the polling booths
  • Local youth point out that thousands of outsiders are seen on roads during polls though orders under Section-144 are in vogue

Tirupati: Hundreds of voters were seen upset as they could not exercise their franchise in Tirupati Lok Sabha by-election as their votes were already cast by others. People of various walks of life experienced this and became angry with the way the democratic process was made a mockery in the pilgrim city limits itself.

A senior citizen Narayana commented that he used to cast his vote in every election but could not this time. Having the EPIC card and other valid documents he was denied his right to vote saying that it has been already cast. "What proof did the officials check? How can they allow someone else to cast my vote? Are they not ashamed of it", he asked.

Several such disappointed voters have said that this kind of excesses by any ruling party is not good for democracy. If at all they are confident of their winning prospects as a result of their good governance, they need not indulge in such activities. Moreover, it is an out and out urban dominated constituency and anything that happens here will draw the attention of the entire country. Still, the democratic process had been used in such a ridiculous way, they commented.

An angry woman Muni Rajalakshmi showing her finger where indelible ink mark could not be seen said, "What is this government? I am having all proofs but they said that my vote was casted at the 29th division booth. It is injustice to me. She found fault with the polling officials for not verifying the genuineness before allowing anyone to vote.

She wanted proof that she casted her vote as told by the officials". Another voter was denied to cast his vote at Thambavani Gunta polling booth. He said that he has been residing in the same area for the last 12 years and has an Aadhar card and EPIC card. Yet, someone else could cast his vote before he entered the booth.

A voter Guru Murthy criticised the role of officials in conducting free and fair polls and said that thousands of people have been roaming freely on the streets of the city though 144 section was in vogue. Several youth were also felt very much disappointed as they could not exercise their franchise. An MBA student commented, "I was shocked seeing the people in such large numbers on roads. Is it polling day or they came to attend a public meeting"?

Several opposition leaders were seen catching the fake voters at the queue lines of different polling booths and sent them out. TDP candidate Panabaka Lakshmi, BJP candidate K Ratna Prabha, leaders K Santha Reddy, Samanchi Srinivas, Ponaganti Bhaskar and others have caught such bogus voters' red handed. When the fake voters were questioned about their full name, father name, residential address etc., they could not answer. Yet, all of them were having fake ID cards, EPIC cards etc., They were seen telling that they came from Chittoor, Piler, Punganur and other areas.

While the opposition parties were seen obstructing outsiders and went into argument with them, the police presence was not felt much at several places. Several political leaders have questioned this and said that while unauthorised people have started entering from early hours into the city how could police prevent them.

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