Low voter turnout in BMC polls
The fate of 393 candidates was sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines as nearly 40 to 45 per cent voters exercised their franchise in the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation polls on Wednesday.
“The election to BMC passed off peacefully with report of a few stray incidents of disturbances. Swift actions were taken to diffuse the tension around polling stations,” said Ajit Kumar Tripathy, State Election Commissioner, after the election.
As against expectations of a large turnout in line of national trend, the BMC poll turned out to be a damp squib. Of the total 6,90,293 voters, 40 per cent and 45 per cent cast their votes. The low enthusiasm for the election was visible from morning. By noon barely 15 per cent of voters had came to polling booths.
However, top leaders from different parties cast their votes in their respective polling booths. Chief Minister and president of Biju Janata Dal Naveen Patnaik exercised his franchise at Aerodrum UGME School in Ward Number 53. Similarly, Biswa Bhushan Harichand, a senior BJP leader, also cast his vote in Ward Number 39. Bhubaneswar Lok Sabha Member Prasanna Patsani and actor turned politician Siddhant Mohapatra also stood in queue for exercising their franchise.
The voting started from 8 am in the morning. Despite wintery morning, voters started reaching polling booths early. However, the voting did not pick up subsequently. Confusion over voter list and difficulties in finding booths could be part of a host of reason behind low turnout.
Supports of candidates kept close watch on movement of their opponents around polling booths. Police personnel and election officials were being quickly approached to prevent attempts of any interference by candidates. Polling was conducted in 660 booths, 375 of which were identified as hyper sensitive. A total 26 platoons of police and 45 mobile police teams were deployed to ensure free and fair election.
The counting of votes would begin on BJB Autonomous College campus on Thursday. Four counting halls have been opened on the campus.