The first time I submitted Form 6 to the Election Desk set up in a dingy school compound was two years ago. I had gone to the desk with a copy of my passport (which according to me is one of the most stringently scrutinized documents in India) and a then recent electricity bill because I was told they needed a photo identity proof and a residence proof so I thought these would suffice. But I was sent back because I didn't carry a copy of my ration card (on which any one can add a name by bribing the municipal officer a mere Rs.100!). I went back the next week with the documents and they accepted my application.
On asking how long would it take to get the Voter's card, the person in-charge said "at least two months." I like a complete idiot was waiting and waiting for the card to be delivered at my home, but it never came. So I went back again, but they said they didn't have the list to verify if my name was added to the constituency's list of registered voters. I told them I would fill a new application if that was the case, but I was told that new voter additions had not begun for the year, so I would have to wait till it is announced again. Later, I found out from the lady who had come to verify the list of voter's at my house that my name had never been added.
I forget about it for almost the next 18 months. Somewhere in October, the citizen awakened in me again. I thought it was the right time to apply, so I did just that. This time I went all prepared, submitted the form with the documents in one go, collected the receipt and then began another period of waiting.
Today, I went back to the same office where I had registered myself initially to check if the addition had happened. They checked around four voters' lists but my neither my name, nor my building's name was present on the list. They directed me to a different office. This time, I did find the name of my building in one of the lists. I was hopeful that I will see my name on the Electoral Roll. There it was, my family's list of additions. It had name of all the adults in the family except mine!
I was shocked. So I asked him what could have gone wrong? He asked me about the documents I had submitted. I gave him the answer and he couldn't point at incorrect documentation as the reason. Then he asked me if I checked my name online on some local MPs site. I told him "Yes" it was not there. In fact none of my family member's name showed up online so I had no hope of finding mine . Then he said it could have happened that they have made a mistake and put my name in the Electoral Roll of another contituency. I enquired "How would I know if it in deed was the case?" He told me I could find out at the chief election office of my zone.
I wasted my entire Sunday morning returning home empty handed. And I will waste another morning running around at the Election Office. All this is especially difficult if you have 9-6 office hours! Why do we have to fight for our right to vote?
PS: I just realise but I crossed 100 posts on my blog with my last post on "Team Spirit". I am very tempted to revamp the look of my blog in celebration but I cannot afford to indulge in such luxuries when I am so time starved :(