Bangalore Urban records the lowest turnout percentage
Amid continued complaints of missing names from the voters list and confusion over booths across the city, the voter turnout improved by over 5 per cent in Bangalore — comprising 28 Legislative Assembly constituencies in the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike areas and Bangalore Urban district.
Despite the increase in voting percentage, the voter turnout in Bangalore Urban was the least in the State, which recorded an average of 70.2 per cent. If 47.3 per cent votes had been cast in 2008, on Sunday more number of voters came out to vote taking the final figure to 52.8 per cent in Bangalore Urban.
In fact, the neighbouring Bangalore Rural district, which has four constituencies, recorded an impressive 77.9 per cent. Besides Bangalore Urban, only Bidar (54.9 p.c.), Yadgir (58.8 p.c.) and Gulbarga (59.8 p.c.) reported less than 60 per cent voting in the State.
Rural areas did better
“Rural areas have voted better than the urban areas; but Bangalore has voted better than in the previous elections,” Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha told a packed press conference here on Sunday evening.
“Increase in [Bangalore’s] voting percentage by 5 per cent is itself an achievement. The single phase poll provided only three weeks to undertake voters’ awareness campaign,” he later told The Hindu.
The Election Commission had not only roped in celebrities to create voter awareness, but also had used various media to spread the message, including distributing pamphlets from gliders.
According to constituency-wise break up of figures provided by the Election Commission (as of 5 p.m. Sunday) the voter turnout in Padmanabhanagar, represented by Home Minister R. Ashok, was the least at just 37 per cent while Sarvajnanagar had recorded 38 per cent polling. Anekal in Urban district (58 p.c.), Bytararayanapura (54 p.c.) Dasarahalli and Malleswaram (53 p.c.) were among those constituencies that had higher voter turnout.
The voter turnout was generally poor in the morning, when just about 5.88 per cent was recorded at 9 a.m. whereas the State average was 8.44 per cent.
From then on, it continued to lag behind the State average all day.
However, the overall five per cent increase in poll percentage was welcomed by voluntary organisations engaged in boosting voter turnout in the city.
“The 52.8 per cent is encouraging as the voter turnout in Bangalore was 47.3 per cent during 2008 elections. It can’t improve dramatically overnight,” said P.G. Bhat, a retired naval officer engaged in voter enrolment campaigns in the run-up to the polls along with voluntary organisations like Smart Vote and Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC).
He said that the actual turnout of voters may be higher in view of the large number of duplicate entries that were noticed during polling.
Meanwhile, a number of Bangaloreans living in apartments and gated communities admitted that they did not exercise their franchise. Some confessed to indifference, others citied lack of motivation and still others, cynicism relating to the quality of candidates.