City Corporation posts lowest polling rate among all local bodies in State
The lowest voter turnout of 60.5 per cent recorded in the city Corporation in the first phase of the local body elections held in seven districts in the State on Saturday has proved that the concern of the candidates and their campaign managers about the low polling rate was not unfounded.
Till 9 a.m., the polling percentage in the Corporation limits was 8 per cent. When the turnout only increased to 12 per cent by 11 a.m., the main candidates and their campaigners were anxious that the polling rate may go below the 43 per cent registered in 2005. They remained on tenterhooks till 2 p.m. when the graph registered 36 per cent polling. The percentage was 52.45 around 4.30 p.m. The campaigners heaved a sigh of relief only when the State Election Commission released the provisional figure of 59.7 per cent in the evening.
The final figure published after referring to the presiding officers' diary showed only a nominal increase — the polling percentage was 60.5. And the Corporation earned the distinction of being the local body to register the lowest polling rate in the first phase elections in the State.
The general indifference of the urban voters has become a matter of concern for the candidates and the political parties. Earlier, the cadre parties used to work out the voting pattern in each locality. But such calculations tend to go awry owing to the recent trend of abstaining from voting. Compared to the urban centres, the rural voters responded more positively. The average polling in the rural areas was around 73 per cent. Parassala, Perumgadavila, Nemom, Pothencode and Vellanad are some of the blocks that recorded a polling percentage of over 70 per cent. In the district, the overall polling percentage was 69.27 per cent.