Most official citizen lists are suspect. In the run-up to the elections in Uttar Pradesh, the Election Commission culled out the names of 22 lakh dead voters and 34 lakh people who had migrated out of the state. And 49 lakh new names were added to the electoral rolls.
There are similar issues with the lists that keep track of those whom bureaucrats call people below the poverty line (BPL). Citizens on these lists are supposed to be the beneficiaries of well-targeted welfare schemes.
Now there is a report from a news agency that at serial number 23 of the BPL list for Raiganj municipality in West Bengal is the name of Gopal Gandhi, the Mahatma’s grandson and governor of the state.
Gandhi’s sarcastic retort: “My grandfather would have been delighted... his grandson’s income and assets were level with the poorest of the poor.” He said the list is “the result of someone’s pure sense of humour or egalitarian idealism”. Both are unlikely in babudom.