Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Highbrow City; Lowbrow voting

Highbrow City; Lowbrow voting
Bangalore, March 29, DH News Service:

Just 44.04 per cent citizens of the IT city turned up at the polling booths and cast their votes in the BBMP elections on Sunday - the lowest in the last one decade.


As per the statistics of votes polled released by the State Election Commission (SEC) on Monday, only 30,72,799 voters have exercised their franchise of the total 69,77,008 voters across the 198 wards. There is a declining trend in voter turn out in Bangalore in the last 10 years.

Statistics revealed that people in the newly-added areas of BBMP (erstwhile CMCs and TMC and villages) have not voted enthusiastically either. An average of 47 per cent polling has been recorded in Bangalore urban zone, which comprise the newly-added areas of Yelahanka, Byatarayanapura, Yeshwanthpura, Dasarahalli, Mahadevapura and Anekal.

Both the highest and the lowest polling per centages are recorded in Bangalore urban zone: Varthur (61.59 %) and Bellandur (29.26 %). There is also an irony to it: These are neighbouring wards in the Mahadevapura Assembly constituency.

Among 28 assembly constituencies, Yelahanka constituency has recorded the highest turnout of 52.88 per cent, while Sarvagnagar has the lowest voting per centage of 34.97.
By and large, voters in the erstwhile 100 wards of BMP kept off the electoral process to choose the new BBMP council. Wards comprising posh residential localities like Jayanagar, Vignanagar, Jeevan Bimanagar, Basavanagudi and Hanumanthanagar have registered less than 35 per cent polling.

Bangalore south zone, where a majority of IT and BT firms are located and their employees reside, recorded 42.54 per cent voting, the North zone, comprising areas like Malleshwaram, Sanjaynagar and C V Ramanagar, has registered 42.08 per cent and 44.90 per cent in the Central zone (core area comprising Shivajinagar, Shantinagar, Gandhinagar, Chikpet and Chamarajpet).
More women have participated in the democratic process than men. As many as 14,45,736 women have voted against total 32,98,567 women voters. Of 36,78,441 men voters, 16,27,063 have cast their ballots.

Is erroneous voters’ list a main reason for the low voter turn out?

“It may be a reason. I agree that there were complaints of missing names and deletion. Voters’ list was prepared by the Election Commission of India. We have tried to weed out errors as much as possible in the limited time,” State Election Commissioner C R Chikkamath told reporters.

He also said he will draw the attention of the Election Commission of India to the errors in the voters’ list in Bangalore. A report had been sought from the zonal officer of Bangalore south on complaints of large numbers of missing names in the list. These complaints were common in almost all wards of the BBMP.

As for other reasons for Bangaloreans remaining off the polling booths, he said as school examinations are on, parents were concentrating on their children’s studies.

“There are multiple reasons for it. One has to do a thorough study on this issue,” he stated.

Survey on voters’ apathy planned

The government is planning to appoint an agency to hold a survey to find out reasons for poor turnout during elections. “The voters’ turnout in City has not crossed 50 per cent in the past several elections. It’s a matter of concern. Perhaps, the survey will reveal the reason,”, CM Yeddyurappa told reporters on Monday.

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