As marathon national elections in the world’s most populous democracy head into their final phase, the Election Commission and local media are reporting dozens of cases of alleged vote fraud, and tens of thousands of names missing from voter lists in the country’s biggest city. But officials say that over all, with more than 815 million eligible voters casting ballots over a five-week period that began April 7, the elections are remarkably trouble free. “Certain questionable practices and people are expected to show up during elections,” said T. S. Krishna Murthy, former chief election commissioner who was in charge of the 2004 parliamentary elections. “But the Election Commission has managed to deal with them well. By and large, the elections are well-managed.” Still there have been complaints of proxy voting and of political parties using money and muscle to rig the outcome of elections, as well as regular reports that thousands of names are missing from the voters’ lists.
The Election Commissioner of Maharashtra has publicly apologized to voters for large-scale deletions of names in Mumbai, India’s biggest city, and Pune. According to some media reports, more than 200,000 names were missing from polling lists in Mumbai.
In several constituencies, the votes are to be thrown out and new elections held.
This week, the Guwahati constituency in the eastern state of Assam said it would hold a new vote after officials were caught on surveillance cameras accompanying voters to the voting machines and casting ballots on their behalf.