Lok Sabha polls: Experts attribute low turnout in Bengaluru to errors in voters’ list, lack of information on candidates and urban apathy

The three Lok Sabha constituencies in the city have clocked the lowest turnout among the seats in the State where elections were held on April 26, with Bengaluru South recording the lowest at 53.17%

May 03, 2024 09:25 pm | Updated May 04, 2024 10:02 am IST - Bengaluru

Voters in queue at a polling station in Nagadevnahalli in Bengaluru North Lok Sabha constituency, on April 26, 2024.

Voters in queue at a polling station in Nagadevnahalli in Bengaluru North Lok Sabha constituency, on April 26, 2024. | Photo Credit: K Bhagya Prakash

Apart from urban apathy and cynicism in the middle class, floating population, discrepancies in the electoral rolls, the cumbersome process of getting names deleted from the rolls and lack of information on the candidates are some of the reasons that experts pointed out for the low voter turnout in the April 26 Lok Sabha polls in Bengaluru Urban district. 

The three Lok Sabha constituencies in the city have clocked the lowest turnout among the seats in the State where elections were held on April 26, with Bengaluru South recording the lowest at 53.17%.

Participating in a panel discussion organised by Bangalore Political Action Committee (BPAC) on Friday, Sandeep Shastri, National Coordinator of Lokniti Network (that conducts Election Studies), said in urban areas, the voters’ list is inflated because of a floating population, duplication of names or because names of many who have either residing outside Bengaluru or abroad have not been deleted.

“We did a study covering 40 households in a few Assembly constituencies, including Vijaynagar, Basavangudi and Bommanahalli and found that in many households more than half of those on rolls are either living abroad or outside Karnataka. We also found a significant chunk of people who have a vote in smaller townships outside Bengaluru as their social and economic interests are there,” he said.

“Do our rolls actually have names of those who are legitimate residents of Bengaluru? Technically, this could be the reason for the poor turnout as the list is inflated with names of those who are not residing here,” he explained.

Deletion is cumbersome

Vikram Rai, president of Bengaluru Apartment Federation (BAF), shared his analysis on baseline errors in the electoral rolls giving observations of a few apartment complexes where registered voters shift their residence within and out of the city. “Although many shift their houses, their names are not deleted from the old area whereas they are quickly added in the list with their new address. While the process of addition is simple, getting names deleted is a cumbersome exercise,” he said.

Sudheendra M.G., KPCC Spokesperson and Block Congress president, said there is a feeling among voters that their single vote is insignificant. “Also political parties are not making efforts to mobilise voters to come out and  vote on polling day as was done in the past,” he said.

Kaveri Kedarnath, former BJP mandal president in Malleshwaram said the personnel deputed for election enumeration duties are overburdened. “From last election to this election, over 30% would have shifted their houses, especially post-COVID. But, the staff do not visit every house to check. Hence, the rolls are full of discrepancies,” she said.

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