it was polling day today at Kolkata for the general elections this year. It happens every five years in this country if things are fine.
I traveled a thousand km to cast my vote, exercise my right. Was I able to?No.
My name was on the voters’ list, my mum’s name too and my dead father’s name and my brother’s. My mum stood right beside me and so many others that have lived as neighbours for twenty years of our lives in this neighbourhood.
I had the Ration Card issued by the State government to prove I reside in this State (how else did my name show up on their list anyway?)
I did not flash my PAN card. I forgot to bring it with me to Kolkata it is somewhere in Ahmedabad where I have been for the last two years for work.
I also didn’t get my passport as it has Gujarat address on it. I could have shown them my bank debit card which had a picture of me. But I didn’t.
I felt hurt and rather like an outcast – after all I did for this city…I didn’t even get to vote.
Is it my fault they failed to issue my voter’s ID card? In our family in 1995 we all went together for the pictures and only my mother’s arrived later with her name spelled wrongly as “Nug” instead of “Nag”. She was wise and did not send it for correction – so she has the VID, she could vote, I could not!
All because they thought only if I showed a photo they could be sure it was me. The fact that I had produced another document that Banks would accept to open an account for you in this country, was not enough.
It has been years since I submitted my photo, documents etc to get my voter’s ID card. Did they apologize for not being able to issue my card on time for me to be able to vote? No.