Deployed for poll duty but Karnataka government employee’s name missing from electoral roll

Mallikarjun Swamy N (33) was shocked to learn that his name was missing from the electoral roll when he went to vote through a postal ballot.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Apr 25, 2024 | 6:14 PMUpdatedApr 25, 2024 | 7:18 PM

Karnataka 2024 Lok Sabha elections Chamarajanagara Bengaluru KSRTC Employee 2024 Lok Sabha Polls

A Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) employee who has been deputed for poll duty initiated a hunger strike in Bengaluru on Friday, 25 April, after his name was found missing from the electoral roll in Bengaluru City.

KSRTC’s Kengeri Division Assistant Storekeeper Mallikarjun Swamy N (33) was shocked to learn that his name was missing from the electoral roll when he went to cast his vote through a postal ballot at JSS Public School polling station in HSR Layout in the city on Wednesday.

Interestingly, Mallikarjun has been deployed as an Assistant Polling Returning Officer (APRO) at Bommanahalli polling station in the South Bangalore Lok Sabha constituency.

Mallikarjun originally hails from Somanathapura village in Chamarajanagar district, where his name is supposed to be enrolled in the electoral roll.

He claimed that the names of several government officials who had been deployed for polling duty found their names missing from the electoral roll.

Mallikarjun said that despite approaching the concerned officials, he managed to receive only assurances from them. Following that, he decided to protest until he was allowed to exercise his franchise in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls.

As many as 14 Lok Sabha seats in Karnataka will go for polling in the second phase of the parliament elections on 26 April.

Also Read: ‘Not getting support from BJP’: Deve Gowda raises concern ahead of polling

The protest

After learning that his name had gone missing from the polling station, the KSRTC employee sat in protest in front of the polling station at the HSR layout.

Mallikarjun told South First: “I have been fighting for the last three days as my name is missing from the electoral roll. It is not just me, several other government officials on polling duty have also found their names missing from the voters list.”

“I learnt that my name was missing from the list when I went to exercise my franchise on 23 April. I have followed all the due procedures, yet my name is missing. I am ashamed of our system. Even in the digital era, one cannot exercise his right,” he fumed.

On asked whether he met any higher officials on the matter, he pointed out: “I had met the Deputy Commissioner (Bengaluru Urban), and he assured me of looking into the matter. But I have not received any response so far.”

“I am protesting solely intending to exercise my franchise, which is my right. I have to cast my vote. I will end this protest, if and only if they allow me to vote,” added Mallikarjun.

When asked whether he is getting support from other employees, he said: “I cannot fight against higher authorities as I am bound by the law. They were with me earlier but got occupied with the election duty.”

Mallikarjun said it was a clear violation of his constitutional right and added, “I will fight until I get justice.”

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)