Pune : The Wagholi suburb in Pune is claiming to be an example in terms of a community ensuring residents of an area are registered to vote for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
A voter registration drive led by a citizen’s group, the Wagholi housing societies association, with the support of societies and resident volunteers, claims to have registered 35,000 voters in the area.
“We made a case study and collected physical forms. We visited each and every resident who was rejected. Armed with this data, we raised a complaint with the EC who in turn connected us to the Shirur office (Lok Sabha constituency Shirur). We met every official responsible for voter registration from the tehsildar to the deputy collector, but nothing happened. Even after resubmissions nothing was done.” says Harcharanjeet Butalia, a resident of Green Groves, and director of the association.
The total population of Wagholi currently is estimated by the association to be at least 1.5 lakh, this voter drive may be a drop in the ocean.
However, it is a case of every drop creating an ocean of voters here.
“We appealed to residents. We had volunteers going to each and every society as well as using social media to create awareness about voter registration. We followed up rigorously; it was an everyday affair to push residents to come forward,” Butalia adds.
Eventually the association’s complaints were taken seriously and the EC directed the setting up of voter in societies in Wagholi.
Terminals were set up and applications were rejected or accepted on the spot.
“At the first camp held on June 9, 2018, 350 residents got their voter identity cards. In the second camp, we registered 1,200 in a day, on June 17, 2018.
At the third camp, held on July 14, 2018, 900 registered,” says Sandesh Lokhande, resident of Pristine Classique, Wagholi, and an association member.
“We keep a track of all applications, their status and we communicate it to the officials,” Lokhande says, adding, that since the camps hundreds of form have been processed and collector of Pune, Naval Kishore Ram is now presiding over voter registration.
The total voter count in Wagholi is 35,000; all registered. The journey of enrolment in Wagholi may well be a case study for similar housing associations in Baner, Kharadi, Viman nagar and Hinjewadi.