Secunderabad hits new low in turnout

Polling in seven Assembly segments stands at 44.99%

April 11, 2019 11:59 pm | Updated 11:59 pm IST - HYDERABAD

Siblings Indira Mahadevan and Shyamala Sivaswamy hold up inked finger after casting vote on Thursday.

Siblings Indira Mahadevan and Shyamala Sivaswamy hold up inked finger after casting vote on Thursday.

The Secunderabad parliamentary constituency on Thursday recorded its worst voter turnout in decades. As per figures provided by the GHMC, polling in the constituency’s seven Assembly segments stood at 44.99%, lowest since 1971 elections, when polling was 43.23%.

The constituency has witnessed consistent voter turnout of 52-54% over the years, with exceptions of 1971, 1980, and 1991 when it fell to below 50%, and 1984 when it nearly touched 60%. After delimitation exercise in 2009, votes polled stood at 54.93%. In 2014, they fell slightly to 53.06%.

On Thursday, voting began at sluggish pace at many polling stations of the constituency, which plummeted further in the afternoon.

A polling booth at Hashmathpet polled only 65 votes in the first three hours, for a total of 1,138 votes. At other polling stations such as AV College, Domalguda, voters made their way to booths after morning walk leading to brisk polling. Many senior citizens were seen casting votes, assisted by volunteers. Nonagenarian siblings Indira Mahadevan and Shyamala Sivaswa my reached AV College, assisted by another senior citizen and son of Ms. Sivaswamy.

“I was born and brought up in Hyderabad, and studied at Rosary Convent. I have voted whenever I was in the city. There are so many candidates in the fray now. Earlier, it was not like this,” said Ms.Mahadevan, who retired as Social Sciences faculty at IIT, Bombay.

Four hours after polling began, the turnout remained below 8%, only to gather some pace later, and touched 23.85% by 1 p.m.

Lack of enthusiasm was palpable in the trickle that entered the booths as the day progressed. A few booths were virtually empty, with polling officials sitting idle. Polling touched 30% only two hours before closing. However, polling improved in the last two hours.

Fewer complaints

GHMC’s efforts since the Assembly polls in December last seem to have paid off, as complaints about deleted votes were few. GHMC attributed low voter turnout to the heat and holidays in a row. Sources, however, attribute it to large number of residents being double registered as voters in Andhra Pradesh. Their leaving for polls there, resulted in reduced voting here, it said.

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