While the run-up to the 2023 State Assembly elections in Karnataka saw high-pitched campaigns, the voting day saw less enthusiasm in some urban pockets, while in others, especially low-income areas and rural pockets, longer queues at polling booths signalled an eagerness about the process.
Bengaluru continued to script a sorry story with its poor voter turnout despite efforts from the authorities concerned as well as citizen groups. Polling booths in several areas, more so the ones in upmarket areas, witnessed a slow day as voters turned up in sporadic numbers. Polling booths in areas such as Indiranagar, Koramangala, Mahadevapura, Bommanahalli and K.R. Puram saw smaller crowd.
Polling booth officials in Jayanagar said early in the morning, there were many people who cast their vote, but after 11 a.m., the numbers tapered down.
Political party workers complained that several apartments and gated communities in the city barred them from entering the premises during poll campaigns. “We were not allowed inside by the security. How will we expect people to turn up to cast their vote?” asked Murali, a political party booth-level worker.
However, in semi-urban areas of Rajarajeshwarinagar (R.R. Nagar) and Yeshwantpur, there were long queues at polling stations even in the heat of the afternoon. There was a sense of accomplishment among both first-time voters and senior citizens. Many senior-citizen couples who supported each other to get to the polling stations attracted admiration from those around. In Shanthinagar, Wilson Garden and Austin Town, the queue extended till the road.
At BET Convent polling booth in R.R. Nagar, three generations of women voted together. While 89-year-old Srimathi took aid of a wheelchair, her daughter Srivalli and granddaughter Srividya also came with her to cast their votes. Mothers with small babies were a common sight at many polling stations and so were young children who were growing impatient in some longer queues. At one of the stations at Yeshwanthpur, a saree-jewellery adorned woman came to the vote straight from her brother’s wedding.
Towards the end of polling day, scenes of voters rushing to the booths were common.