Low voter turnout worries parties

The election staff wait for voters with most electors preferring to stay away from going to vote in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election in Hyderabad on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

A sense of fear has gripped major political parties, especially the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the poor turnout of voters in the elections to the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) on Tuesday. The parties are apprehensive of the fall out of the low voter turnout on their fortunes.

Days after high decibel election campaign that skipped issues of immediate public importance and revolved around communal issues, parties were hopeful of decent voter turnout and the BJP was confident of putting up an impressive performance to an extent that it could stake claim for the mayoral seat.

But, the low turnout of educated crowd and people living in the middle class colonies in the core City and suburbs, a section on which it has been banking, has cast a shadow on its showing. Senior leaders of the BJP as well as its frontal organisations are themselves confused as to how the result would be.

“We are surprised why the youth and educated lot stayed indoors and remained totally indifferent to the polling. Has Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s repeated assertion that divisive forces are out to foment trouble on the polling day kept people away from the polls,” a top BJP leader wondered.“The situation is worrisome so far, but were are hopeful that even the low turnout might benefit us,” said another key figure of the BJP.

Fingers crossed

The TRS leadership on its part too is keeping its finger crossed. “What does this low turnout mean for us?” a TRS senior wondered. The party is hopeful that the fairly good turnout in the divisions, which has considerable people living in the basthis will be to its advantage. “People, who have benefited from the government schemes will surely vote for us and the way these sections have lined up outside the polling stations is proof that we will win,” he remarked.

The Congress, which was completely marginalised in this elections is pinning its hopes on Qutubullapur, Uppal Assembly segments of Malkajgiri parliamentary constituency. “Political parties are more interested in elections and not the voters,” a top functionary of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee said.

MIM tally

A key MIM leader exuded confidence that the party is going to improve its tally. “We won 44 divisions last time and now we are confident of adding at least three more seats,” the leader said. The party is however wary that the election could be a pointer to the BJP improving its vote share due to the decimation of the TDP and the marginalisation of the Congress.

The MIM leader maintained that the divisions in which its candidates were fielded had minority votes ranging from 44 % to 99 %. The low polling in Old City could be attributed to the fact that the electorate might have come to a conclusion that the MIM would retain its hold irrespective of whether they voted or not.

The electrifying campaign and on the flip side of the poor voter response to the GHMC polls has made the 72-hour time for counting to commence made the wait of the parties more agonising.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2021 1:25:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/low-voter-turnout-worries-parties/article33224458.ece

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