The team of CRDDP has so far matched the Census data of Muslim households and Election Commission’s voters list in 16 Assembly constituencies, and the number of Muslims without voter ID has crossed 1.28 lakh.
MUMTAZ ALAM | Caravan Daily
NEW DELHI / BENGALURU: With the Assembly elections in Karnataka just couple of months away from now, a reputed NGO has found that around 15 lakh Muslims are not enrolled as voter in the state, but neither the individuals, nor the community or political parties that always eye for their votes are aware about it.
After drawing the attention of the state Minority Commission, Election Commission of India and political parties, the Center For Research And Debates in Development Policy (CRDDP), headed by renowned economist Dr. Abusaleh Shariff, has engaged community activists and volunteers for the enrollment mission.
In the first week of this March, CRDDP estimated that 15 lakh Muslim eligible voters do not have voter ID in Karnataka. Within days, its team of software engineers and experts developed an Android App and a website, which provides details of the exact home in a specified assembly constituency with the missing voter ID. It advised political parties and contestants to use this information and enhance the number of voters to increase people’s participation in the voting.
Matching of Census Data of Muslim Households with Voters’ List
When Caravan Daily asked CRDDP about the authenticity of its finding (about 15 lakh Muslims missing in electoral rolls, Syed Khalid Saifullah, Research Associate and COO of CRDDP, said they reached the conclusion after matching the Census data of Muslim households with the constituency-wise electoral rolls of the Election Commission.
“First we looked at the household size data of Census 2011 and prepared a list of constituency-wise Muslim households (of different sizes). Then we went through the constituency-wise latest electoral rolls of Karnataka (which was published on Feb 28, 2018). We changed the PDF files of the electoral rolls into excel sheets and made a list of Muslim voters. When we matched the two, we found thousands of Muslim voters are missing in electoral rolls,” said Saifullah, software engineer by profession.
Giving an example of the Shivajinagar Assembly constituency, he said: “CRDDP identified a total 18,453 Muslim households in Shivajinagar constituency. Census 2011 data (Household series – HH-01) suggests that only 4.3% of households have household size of one. 793 Muslim households, therefore, can have one registered voter. But our data extracts from Election Commission Electoral Rolls found that 8795 households have only one registered voter. Thus in Shivajinagar alone, 8002 Muslim households have adults with no voter’s ID.”
Software Engineer Syed Khalid Saifullah
But they did not rely on it alone. They sent some volunteers to several Muslim households in the area and found their assessment correct. There were hundreds of households having more than one eligible voters, but only one of them was enrolled in voter list.
By March 24, the team of CRDDP has matched the Census data of Muslim households and Election Commission’s voters lists in 16 Assembly constituencies, and the number of Muslims without voter ID has crossed 1.28 lakh, informed Saifullah who works at a software company in Hyderabad.
After their first estimation about 15 lakh missing Muslim voters in the first week of March, a CRDDP delegation had met Karnataka Minorities Commission on March 14 under the leadership of Dr. Abusaleh Shariff, Founder President of CRDDP. On the same day, it held a meeting and decided to constitute a 22-member pressure group “to ensure that the Election Commission of India at New Delhi and the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, take note of this lacuna.”
Android App ‘Muslim Voters’
But CRDDP team did not sit at home after meeting authorities, they went ahead to issue an appeal to engage volunteers in each constituency who could visit every home with no voter ID or fewer voter IDs than the number of eligible members of the household and help them in getting enrolled. And hundreds of people have responded to their appeal.
CRDDP team led by Saifullah, himself a software engineer, has already developed an Android App namely ‘Muslim Voters’, and through the registration process, a volunteer can view these households with correct postal address and help them apply for a voter ID. Voter ID can be secured until the last day of nomination. They have asked each volunteer to take responsibility for servicing 10-20 households.
College Drop-out Asif Pasha Helps 500 People in Enrolment
The efforts of CRDDP are yielding results. In the last one month, more than 8,000 people have installed the Android App and many of them have started working in the field. Asif Pasha is one of them. A college drop-out, Pasha has helped 500 people in getting enrolled in the voters list in the last one week.
Roughly, enrollment forms for 5,000 people have been filled in and submitted to the Election Commission by the volunteers, informed Saifullah.
But the CRDDP has a long path to cover. By March 24, its team of 10 people at office, mostly software experts, has finalized the list of missing Muslim voters only in 16 Assembly constituencies. There are 224 Assembly constituencies in the state.
It has issued an appeal.
“The IT based research and analysis that identifies missing Muslim voters in each constituency is time consuming and must be undertaken by the professionals. It cost Rs. 4000/- per constituency to generate data, analyze and feed it into the Android App. CRDDP urges the community leaders, politicians and philanthropists to support this cause to politically empower the Muslims of Karnataka.”
Anyone interested to volunteer can give missed call to 8099 683 683. The App link will be sent to him in SMS.