Andhra Pradesh Election Commission, within two weeks time period has received
over 8 lakh voter deletion requests, out of which 2 lakh were found fake, told Chief Election Commissioner of the state Gopal Dwivedi.
There are still six lakh applications pending, which are yet to undergo the verification process. However, none of the votes were deleted.
Most of these applications were online requests, a ‘Form 7’ submission which is usually the procedure for a voter deletion appeal. The state election commission has reached out to the police and more than 200 FIRs have been filed in various districts across the state.
“Deletion cannot be done just by a Form-7 request. First, they need to send the form and there are three levels of verifications. They’d be given prior notice of one week and then a proposal would be sent to our office from the district Collector and then we take up the issue for verification,” Dwivedi told.
An investigation is underway and the police are in the process of gathering IP addresses to identify from where these applications have been sent and to check if they’re bogus.
Guntur and Chittoor, which also happens to be Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu’s constituency, were one of the areas with high number of requests, according to the Election Commission in Andhra Pradesh.
In a few cases, of the two lakh fake pleas, several of them under whose name the applications were sent were not even alive and a few of them were illiterate and were from the rural interiors of the state.
“Earlier we got about 50,000-60,000 applications each day. But, after the FIRs have been filed, the form 7 requests number dropped to 1000 a day now,” Dwivedi said.
This comes at a time when there is a potential data breach scandal and political parties in the state alleging each other of attempts to get voters deleted in rival constituencies.
Specifically, Chief Minister Naidu’s party TDP is facing heat over allegations of misusing sensitive and personal information of the citizens from the government database. A private company IT Grids, which developed an app named Seva Mithra for the TDP cadre, is found to have access to sensitive information from the government record.
The information could be about Aadhaar, Electoral Roll and government schemes, according to Telangana Police which lodged an FIR against the company after an activist filed a complaint alleging that the party is profiling voters based on this info and is attempting to get a large number of voters deleted.
Meanwhile, TDP has said that this is purely a conspiracy by the opposition party ahead of the elections and has lashed out at TRS and YRSCP alleging that they’ve hatched this plan together to tarnish the former’s image.