Chilume Voter Data Scam: How did the names of 27 lakh voters of Karnataka get dropped?

Like CBI, ED, IT departments, the Election Commission is also becoming a puppet of the central government.


Bangalore: In Indian Democracy right from gram panchayat elections to parliament the electorate does not elect their representatives but, they choose ruling governments. It is essential that this electoral system be free and fair. Otherwise, there is no difference between a democratic country and a military dictatorship. In the past there was illegal vote rigging in some places; We heard that people were voting in fear of guns, under the shadow of goons. Illegal means used to be visible and criticized. But in today’s modern era, high-tech election irregularities are taking place. By that, we have created a situation to question whether we are a real democratic country.

For so long, we all have cursed election irregularities like asking for votes on the basis of caste and religion, creating artificial threats that religion and country are in danger, luring voters with money and alcohol in elections, and buying MLAs after the results are announced. The ruling BJP government has gone hundreds of steps further and is facing accusations of removing the names of lakhs of people from the electoral rolls who are suspected to be ‘not their voters’. By that, there is a doubt that victory is being ensured even before the elections. Such a huge conspiracy in Karnataka has made us lose faith in the entire election process.

27 lakh people lost their right to vote

In the past, complaints were heard that many people were deprived of voting because they did not know their names had been omitted from the voter list. It was said that it was happening due to technical problems or due to negligence or blunder of election officials at the booth level. But now, there are allegations that their names have been removed from the voter list deliberately targeting a particular community. It is said that polls were conducted as to whose names should be dropped, and finally, more than 27 lakh voters were silently dropped from the list across the entire state of Karnataka. Names of 6.69 lakh voters were deleted in Bangalore city alone.

In the 2018 assembly elections, Congress candidate Krishna Bhairegowda won the Batarayanpur assembly constituency in Bangalore by a margin of 5,671 votes against the BJP candidate. This time the number of voters left in that constituency in the voter revision is 30,757. The ruling BJP is facing allegations that an average of 25,000 names of voters who disagree with them have been removed from the list in almost all constituencies.

A large number of Muslim voters’ names are deleted!

It is customary to remove a person’s name from the electoral roll if he/she dies, or transfers his/her voter ID card to another location. But this time the revision of the list has been done targeting the Muslim voters, people and political activists have complained. There is growing suspicion that the names of some Dalits and some people who are interested in progressive ideas have been removed from the list. “BJP party leaders who openly declare that we don’t want Muslim votes, refuse to give tickets to even a Muslim person in the elections, know that we will not get those votes. “That’s why it is the BJP’s ambition to win before the election by removing those voters who vote for the opposition parties from the list,” alleged the opposition leaders.

BJP supported Chilume Voter Data theft scams

An educational, cultural, and rural development trust (NGO) called ‘Chilume’, which has the political and financial support of BJP ministers and MLAs, has been accused of being behind the whole process and a complaint has also been filed. The investigation was carried out by the joint effort of the newsminute and pratidhwani web portals. Questions have been raised about whether the Chilume organization has illegally carried out the revision of the voter list, which should be conducted by the Independent Election Commission, with the patronage of the state government, BBMP, and local election officials. Having obtained permission only to conduct voter awareness, it has roped in some election officials and created fake identity cards called Booth Level Officer (BLO) and collected complete data of voters of 243 wards in Bengaluru. It not only got all the information like name, mobile number, caste, and religion but also conducted a survey on what is your opinion about the government and who will you support in the next election. Thereby they have collected invaluable voter details on who is with the government and who is against the government.

Also, elements have come to light that BLOs who were actually appointed by the Election Commission have paid money and got their user name and password and started to modify the voters themselves. Along with the names of Muslims and Dalits, the ruling BJP government is facing serious accusations that the names of those who have expressed displeasure with the current BJP government have been removed without hesitation.It has been alleged that the BLOs were not lured to the field but paid for the full details of each identity card. Four persons, including its founder Ravikumar, have been arrested by the police after the scandal of the Chilume organization, which illegally stole information and deleted the names of voters, came to light. Three government officials who helped him have been suspended.

In the preliminary investigation of this scam, alarming information has come to light that the Chilume organization was ready to sell the data it collected. The theft was revealed when many people, including former MLAs, were contacted by email and offered to sell their data.The fact that checks, letterheads and even a note counting machine were found during the arrest underscores the scale of the scam.

The opposition Congress has alleged that “this scam has taken place with the orders of CM Bommai and with the cooperation of Minister Aswathanarayan.” “Therefore, instead of the government-controlled police, a judicial investigation of the case should be conducted under the supervision of High Court judges,” it demanded. It has submitted a request to the Chief Electoral Officer that the revision of voter list carried out by the Chilume organization should be abandoned and real officials should be investigated, and criminal cases should be filed against the organization, individuals and those who have cooperated with the information stolen. Opposition leader Siddaramaiah alleged that Ahinda voters who were supporting us were identified and dropped from the voters list.

Central Election Commission is under pressure from Modi Shah – Devasahayam

“Article 324 of the Constitution makes it clear that an Independent Election Commission is responsible for conducting the entire election, from the preparation and revision of the electoral roll. But Karnataka CM Bommayi says about this scam, ‘Congress has a role in this, I will issue an order to investigate the irregularities that have taken place since 2013’.Who are they to investigate? By this statement, he is proving that he is an irresponsible Chief Minister. He has been accused in this scam and it is an investigation that should be conducted by the Election Commission. But the problem is that the Central Election Commission in Delhi has bowed to the pressure of Modi and Sarawak,” says MG Devasahayam, a retired army and IAS officer who has worked on electoral reforms.

“Senior officials from the Center should come and conduct a comprehensive investigation and punish the culprits. But he has given that responsibility to the junior officers here. BJP is complaining against Congress in governance. The media is also writing what the CM said without writing the truth.Our question is on what basis you dropped the names of the voters when the election commission itself is acting against the minority community? Overall, a social audit of this scam should be done,” he said.

We all know that the Narendra Modi government has proposed to take away the citizenship of some communities through the CAA/NRC Acts, but there has been a widespread movement across the country and it has backed off. Allegations are rife that the same party has tried to prevent most of those communities from voting. The Election Commission, which should investigate and prevent it, is sitting on its hands. Like CBI, ED, IT departments, the Election Commission is also becoming a puppet of the central government. How can a free and fair election be expected in such a situation?

The article was published in nyaya patha, our sister newspaper in Kannada. It is translated in English by Bharath Hebbal.


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May 2024


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