Residents of Hyderabad constituency are complaining of privacy violation after BJP sends mass messages to voters, with a request to vote for the party
Waquar Hasan | Caravan Daily
HYDERABAD – Residents of Hyderabad constituency were in for a shock when started to receive messages that had their personal details from the Bharatiya Janata Party, requesting them to vote in their favour. Surprised with all the minute details that the messages have, the residents are questioning as to how the ruling party has managed to get all their details like – house number, husband name and even the polling station details. The details leaked are making many believe that there has been a violation of privacy which has made it possible for the details to be leaked from the Election Commission to the BJP.
“My wife has been receiving messages on her mobile, requesting her to vote for the BJP. The message has a link, which on being clicked leads to a page which has all my personal details. She has also been receiving automated calls with the same request. It’s not happening only with my wife but also with some of my friends,” said Malik Amir, a resident of Hyderabad.
The message addressing the voter by his/her name gives a link with a statement – ‘Below are the polling details’. On clicking the link one is led to www.reformsindia.in, where all personal details of the voter have been listed along with a message, which states, “For a strong India, for a powerful India, for a corruption-free India, for prosperous and progressive India, for fulfillment of hopes and aspirations….Let’s vote for BJP. Let’s vote for Lotus.”. It also features the photo of BJP’s Hyderabad candidate Bhagvanath Rao.
While raising an alarm, Amir further alleged, “How did they get the number? Are they taking it from the Election commission? We had registered this number when we had applied for the voter identity card. I presume that they got access to my number from that data.” He then added, “Should I presume that the Election Commission provided our number to the BJP for phone marketing.”
He further added, “How can you give my personal details to a party? When my personal data is being leaked, it’s a violation of my privacy.”
Hyderabad Voter Abdul Khader has also been receiving the same message along with the link. His message reads, “The power of choosing good over evil is within the reach of all…vote wisely. Happy Voting! Information provided by: Dr. BHAVANTH RAO, BJP MP Candidate”.
Reacting on the same Khalid Saifullah, an IT engineer believes that this type of campaigning is absolutely wrong and that the Election Commission should immediately take notice of this. Questioning the role of the Election Commission he said, “If a phone number is only registered with the Election Commission, then did it reach the BJP database?”
“There are two ways of looking at this – either the Election Commission could have leaked the data to the BJP or the BJP could have stolen the data from the Election Commission,” added Saifullah, who played a crucial role in raising the issue of missing voters from the election commission’s rolls for the 2019 Lok Sabha Election.
According to Saifullah this move of texting with personal details to voters, asking them to vote for the BJP is absolutely wrong. He maintains that it’s an issue of violation of privacy and that the Election Commission needs to take immediate action. “One can arrange number from somewhere. But they are messaging with my voter id and pooling booth details then they know everything. This is a very serious concern. If the BJP does not get votes at my polling booth and the BJP knows my number and polling booth details, then how safe am I? Can I vote in a free and fair manner if the BJP knows everything about me,” he further questioned.
Another voter from Hyderabad Sohail Khan has also received the message from the BJP. He too wants to know as to how his personal details that he had given while registering with the Election Commission reach the BJP.
His message reads, “Dear Sohail Khan You Digital letter……….link….. Vote for BJP, Vote for Lotus, Vote for Development.”
He questioned, “If I would have simply got the message to vote for the BJP, I would have had no issue. But the issue is how my all personal details are with the BJP?”
Apart from the voters mentioned here, there are many others who have also received the same message.
Many activists have accused that the ruling party are using illegal means to influence the voters, which they feel should not go unnoticed and unreported, as these unethical ways will definitely make an impact on a free and fair election. According to an investigative report published in the Huffington Post, the saffron party is running sinister propaganda to win the elections by using social media and data