Keeping up the tradition, most of Bengaluru doesn’t turn up to vote

Police personnel relaxing outside an empty booth at Vrushabhavathinagar in Bengaluru, during the byelection to Mahalakshmi Layout Assembly constituency, on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: K. MURALI KUMAR

In keeping with the trend of participating poorly in the electoral process, the people of Bengaluru failed to vote in large numbers in the four city constituencies where byelections were held on Thursday.

K.R. Puram, Yeshwantpur, Mahalakshmi Layout and Shivajinagar not only recorded a dip in voter turnout when compared with the 2018 Assembly elections, but also saw much lower turnouts when compared to the other 11 constituencies in the State where polling was held. K.R. Puram finished last with 43.25% polling. Among the Bengaluru city constituencies, in the 2018 Assembly elections, Dasarahalli had polled the least with a turnout of 48.03%.

‘Fed up with system’

‘While political analysts term this a continued voter apathy in Bengaluru, voters that The Hindu spoke to confessed that they were “fed up with the system”, with so many elections forced upon them in a short span of time. “Despite this, there is no guarantee of a stable government,” a voter from Mahalakshmi Layout said.

Also, with election holiday having been declared only in the constituencies where bypolls were conducted, many voters who worked outside those segments did not want to miss work in order to vote.

It was because of this that some party workers in Mahalakshmi Layout made transport arrangements for working professionals so that they could vote and be dropped at their workplace. “Many residents of Mahalakshmi Layout work in other parts of the city, which had not declared a holiday. So we asked the residents to come early in the morning and vote. We arranged autorickshaws and vans so that they could make it to work on time,” said a BJP worker.

Some other workers said they requested several private companies and shops in the locality to give their employees permission to go off work for one hour in order to exercise their franchise.

Trilochan Sastry, a professor at IIM Bengaluru and founder of the Association for Democratic Reforms, said the continued trend of voter apathy could be because the voters are fed up with the system. “Also, the election holiday being given only in constituencies that went to polls may have deterred some whose workplaces were outside the constituency of voting. Poor voter turnout has been a regular trend in Bengaluru,” he said.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 1:15:39 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/keeping-up-the-tradition-most-of-bengaluru-doesnt-turn-up-to-vote/article30199116.ece

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