Kerala

Ernakulam constituency baffles political parties

The reluctance of voters in Ernakulam Assembly constituency to cast their votes continues to baffle politicians as well as administrators.

While voters in most of the constituencies enthusiastically voted in the Assembly elections on April 6, the hesitancy of Ernakulam voters was reflected in polling figures. Going by the official poll data, 74.17% voters exercised their rights in the district. However, it was 65.9% in Ernakulam, which was in tune with the lower turnout trend during the 2019 bypoll and 2016 Assembly polls.

While only 57.89% voters came out to vote during the bypoll, the constituency had the lowest voter turnout in the district during the 2016 polls. That time, 71.6% voters participated in the democratic process. The highest polling figures were recorded in Kunnathunadu that time with 85.63% voters reaching polling booths.

Final figures

The final polling figures of Ernakulam Assembly constituency, says S. Suhas, Ernakulam District Collector, may improve by two to three per cent when the service votes, postal votes and votes of people aged above 80 years and those with disabilities are counted on May 2.

Ernakulam has the highest number of service votes. It is also the case with postal votes.

The final figures, which would emerge on the counting day, will give the real picture of the voter response. The administration had taken all possible efforts to increase voter awareness and voter turnout through the Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation programme, he said.

The COVID scare might have forced some voters to stay indoors and avoid polling stations, where people reach in large numbers, reasoned another official who was involved in the awareness programme.

‘Feeble connection’

M. Anilkumar, Kochi Mayor, feels that the connect between the city voters and political parties is feeble when compared to other parts of the district, which might have reflected in the low turnout. There are a large number of gated communities in the city and the access of political parties to such residential units is relatively low, he said.

The trend among families to move to some tourist destinations by making use of the holidays preceding the polling day also might have contributed to the low turnout, he said.

The response of voters of Ernakulam, felt T. J. Vinod, Ernakulam MLA and the UDF candidate in the constituency, had been lukewarm for quite some time.

During the civic polls, the voter turnout was between 45% and 50% in some city areas. In two booths of Khatari Bagh, where there are a large number of service votes, the polling was abysmally low and was to the tune of 5% on April 6, he pointed out.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 7:50:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/kerala-assembly/ernakulam-constituency-baffles-political-parties/article34275674.ece

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