Clean up rolls, avoid weekend dates for polling, say experts as Bengaluru records poor voter turnout again

Published - April 27, 2024 09:35 pm IST - Bengaluru

Long queues of voters at a polling station at Nagadevnahalli in Bengaluru North Lok Sabha constituency.

Long queues of voters at a polling station at Nagadevnahalli in Bengaluru North Lok Sabha constituency. | Photo Credit: BHAGYA PRAKASH K.

Bengaluru, which has a thick urban populace, has been recording poor voter turnout in consecutive elections, including in the Lok Sabha polls on April 26, prompting active citizens and political workers to call out the voters’ apathy. However, senior election officials and analysts chart different reasons for the low percentage.

According to a senior election official, failure to delete voters from the electoral rolls in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) limits is a key reason for the poor percentage. The data show the average voter turnout in Bengaluru North, Bengaluru South, and Bengaluru Central Lok Sabha constituencies, including Yelahanka, R.R. Nagar, Bengaluru South, and Anekal Assembly segments, is 54.76%. The total number of votes polled stands at 55,03,056. In the previous Lok Sabha polls, voter turnout was 54.48% with 49,51,302 votes polled. 

The official, explaining the cause for the low turnout, said in these polls the names of at least 16 lakh voters should have been deleted from the rolls for multiple reasons, including similar entries and deaths, which was not done properly. The official said according to a rough estimation, the names of at least 1,20,000 dead people still figure in the electoral rolls. The total number of voters in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls is 1,01,37869. This is an 11% increase in the voting population as against the previous polls. In the last elections, the total number of voters was 90,87,050.

The official said if 16 lakh names were deleted, the total number of voters would be 85.37 lakh. Now, if the polled votes are calculated against this number, then the turnout would be 64.45%.

P.G. Bhat, an election analyst, said the election officials have failed to delete the voters who are not here or are dead. A study done at three polling booths in Basavanagudi showed that about 35% voters listed in the rolls are either dead or have left the place, he said. At Jalavayuvihar, 600 to 700 voters were not deleted despite repeated requests from the past several years, he added.

Mr. Bhat further said if in the rolls, voting population sees an increase of more than 4%, an internal investigation should be conducted by the election officials, which, it appears, was not carried out in Bengaluru. The city has seen a substantial jump in the last five years, he pointed out.

Rajajinagar BJP MLA Suresh Kumar, while concurring with the point about deletion, also emphasised that holding polls on Friday paves the way for a long weekend and makes people plan getaways. He said in some polling booths, there were long queues, forcing some voters to return home. “In areas which have more voting population, to ease the crowd, multiple booths should have been set up,” he added. However, Mr. Bhat said that this may not be the reason since no booth has over 1,400 voters.

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