A variety of reasons for the low poll turnout

COVID-19 scare, post pandemic exodus from the city, coupled with work from home option given to majority of the IT employees, could have adversely affected the polling figures in the GHMC elections.

Further, shifting of polling stations and voters from one division to the other has created considerable confusion, which might have prompted a few more to abstain.

Several senior citizens did not turn up for the fear of contracting the virus.

“I would have voted had it not been for the pandemic scare. We even got voter slips, but I chose safety over exercise of franchise,” said Lakshmi Narayana, a retired employee from L.B.Nagar.

Non-distribution of voter slips has contributed in an unexpected way. Polling stations of quite a few voters have been inexplicably shifted to other divisions, and due to lack of voter slips, they could not figure it out. A few others chose to remain home rather than travel to the changed polling station.

“My vote has been shifted to near Kothapet though I stay at Chaitanyapuri. Still, I walked up to the polling station to vote. But my wife’s vote was shifted to altogether another division in L.B. Nagar, four kilometres away. She stayed home,” said R.S.Murthy, another voter.

Suram Vaman, another disabled voter from East Kakatiya Nagar of ECIL, could not find his polling booth as he did not have voter slip.

CPI(M) State secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram too was not exempted from this fate. He had to forgo his voting right merely because he had no voter slip, the party sources said.

“He went to cast his vote at Bagh Amberpet, but did not have voter slip. Though he showed the identity proof, the polling personnel refused his vote. Later, we searched online and found his name in the list, but it was too late,” informed D.G.Narasimha Rao, a senior leader from the party.

Loss of employment in city could be one more prominent reason for the low voter turnout. Post the COVID-19 pandemic, several business establishments have either shut down, or removed large number of employees from the jobs. Several daily wage labourers voluntarily shifted out of the city, which may have brought down the number of voters, some observers say.

IT employees, on the other hand, moved to their native places following the option to work from home, which may explain the very low turnout in circles such as Serilingampally and Chandanagar.

None of these reasons, however, explains the unusually low voter turnout in several areas in Old City, which, Mr.Narasimha Rao attributes to fear and despair among voters over political rhetoric of the major parties.

Donthi Narasimha Reddy, a social activist, says the polls have been thrust on the people, who are yet to recover from the floods and pandemic.

“It is a comment on the unsuitable timing of the elections when people are least prepared.”

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 3:33:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/a-variety-of-reasons-for-the-low-poll-turnout/article33225713.ece

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