Missing identities

Written by Garima Pant | Updated: Apr 26 2009, 05:46am hrs
Bollywood has come out in full force to urge people to make use of their voting rights as ad campaigns run thick and fast on the visual and the print mediums. But many from the fraternity may not end up voting. Bipasha Basu has decided not to vote for this Lok Sabha elections. The Bong bombshell doesnt have a Voter I-card and she is not keen to go through the cumbersome process of getting it made. Imagine when a known face like me had to go through such a difficult time in trying to get my voter I card being made, one can only imagine what a common man must be going through, the Bollywood actress was quoted in media reports.

And this is not just a publicity gimmick to cash in on the election fever. A visit to www.consumercomplaints.in and one gets to read scores of complaints related to the voter I cards. These grievances range from wrong names and addresses, incorrect and incomplete information and delay in getting the identity card.

After months of massive drives across the country in the last few months for providing photo ID cards to voters asking voters to submit photographs and required documents in the obscure corners of their towns and cities, the commission seems to be faltering at the final frontier. A substantive number of people will have to be prepared with alternative photo identity as their chances of getting the voters ID card before the poll date are bleak. Even though the Election Commission insists on use of voter identity card, the ground reality is different as is evident from status of voter ID cards for urban constituencies.

Nishtha Gupta, a west Delhi resident has been waiting anxiously for her electoral identity card to arrive. Its been more than two months since I submitted my photographs and other information. But I havent received it. Though my name has been added to the voters list, I am yet to receive my identity card, says Gupta. Calling up the electoral office does not offer much of a solution but another excuse. When this journalist tried to enquire about her voters identity card that was yet to reach her, a software error was blamed for the delay. There was a software problem and that is why there was a delay in distributing the cards. But now the problem has been solved and the cards will be reaching your doorstep within a week.

The booth level officers will be delivering it personally to every household, said the official. It has been more than a week. And the wait to secure a proven identity continues.

Alternate identities

Passports, driving licences, PAN cards, service identity cards issued by state/Central governments, public sector understandings, local bodies or other private industrial houses will be accepted for the purpose of voting. Bank/kisan/post office passbooks (accounts opened on or before March 31, 2004), student identity cards issued by recognised institutions on or before March 31, 2004, property documents such as pattas, registered deeds, ration cards issued on or before this date, SC/ST/OBC certificates issued by competent authority, are also bonafide identity cards, as specified by the Election Commission.