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Madhya Pradesh: Voters’ phone numbers at 10 paise each, ID slips at 30 paise

Shop selling election paraphernalia offers online packages on critical voters' data.

Bhopal: With only 47 days left for polling day in the state, records of lakhs of voters with their mobile phone numbers are openly available for sale for poll contestants to lure electors.

An election paraphernalia shop adjacent to the BJP headquarters in the city is offering mobile phone numbers of lakhs of voters and that, too, constituencywise and electronic machinery to call and text voters.

The original business of the owner is providing flags, posters, handbills, pamphlets and T-shirts. But shopowner Shyam Bhai Jhandewala is also offering crucial data of voters’ lists in any ‘searchable’ format that you wish. The data is already available online and slips are accessible to the political parties.

While the Cong’s plea seeking ‘digitally searchable’ voters’ lists in the state was rejected by the SC on Friday, Jhandewala is offering complete voters’ lists of 230 Assembly constituencies.

The lists are according to last name, age and region and many other formats. The search engine, when provided with the digital format of voters’ lists, can search for any name in the complete voters’ list in two seconds. The phone numbers of lakhs of voters in each constituency are sorted according to alphabet, age, community and region.

Jhandewala, an Ahmedabad resident, has nothing to hide as several posters showcasing the offers were put up all around the BJP office. About the authenticity of the data, he says, “Test and check, we’re professionals here.”

Mini-GSM phone exchange on sale

  • A mini-GSM phone exchange is also available, which will reduce the cost of calling a voter.
  • It can accommodate 16 SIM cards at once for Rs1.15 lakh, through which voice calls can be made at 8 paise/minute and messaging is free.
  • However, age, region and community-indexed numbers are available for 10 paise per voter and has to be paid for separately.

‘No complaints yet’

“We’ll act when a complaint is received. Also, if there’s a case of IT Act violation, the police will take action,” VL Kantha Rao, CEO.

When DB Post contacted as a buyer

  • DB Post contacted Jhandewala on the phone no. provided by a worker.
  • He said that the offers showcased were basic ones and there were premium features that included voters’ lists according to family and community.
  • He said, for each Assembly constituency, a coloured voters’ slip was also available for 30 paise.

 

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Prabhatesh Tripathi

Principal Correspondent dbpost covering, political and policy affairs in Madhya Pradesh