These localities have registered poor turnout in the past

Elections to the Mysore City Corporation (MCC) council in the past have shown broad trends specific to different residential localities in the city: the more upmarket the locality is the less is the voter turnout.

It is as if the educated and the salaried class constituting the “urban middle class” is dismayed or at worst indifferent to the electoral process and hence stay away from polling booths. It remains to be seen if the same trend repeats this time when the city goes to polls on Thursday. In contrast, there is greater participation in the electoral process in the other parts of the district.

Campaigning for the MCC elections was relatively subdued this time owing to paucity of time. Hence the candidates are worried about low voter turnout, especially in wards comprising upmarket residential layouts.

In the 2007 elections, the voter turnout was 51 per cent, but the bulk of it came from slums and other areas dominated by socially and economically weaker sections. The turnout was poor in most swanky localities including Gokulam, Saraswathipuram, Kuvempunagar, Yadavgiri, Siddarthanagar and Krishnamurthypuram. The high voter turnout in areas such as Medar Block, Ghousia Nagar, Rajiv Nagar and Ashokapuram helped the polling percentage reach 51.

A few non-governmental organisations had made efforts to “educate” the middle class in Kuvempunagar and its surroundings on the imperatives of exercising their franchise for better governance, but the low turnout showed that the efforts had poor impact.

H.V.S. Murthy, an advocate and general secretary of the Federation of Tax Payers Association, said there was a general perception that the urban middle class was voluble in its criticism of the “system”.

“While urban middle class people are strident in their demands for quality service from the MCC, there is no active participation by them by way of taking a broader interest in the fate of the city other than perhaps grudgingly paying the tax,” Mr. Murthy said.

Missing names

There were issues related to missing names in the electoral list and this too contributed to the low turnout. Many of the registered voters turned up to exercise their franchise but had to return disappointed as their names were missing from the voters’ list or because the polling booths had changed.

A few political activists fear that there are names of a large number bogus voters in the electoral rolls.

They reasoned that this came to the fore when polling agents went around the localities distributing voter identity slips with details of polling booths. Random checking of a few addresses led them to vacant sites, they claimed.

Keywords: local polls

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