Hyderabad: The Election Commission of India once again took a gamble by conducting the election on Thursday, allowing people the option of adding a day’s leave and enjoying a long weekend. The gambit clearly failed. Voting in most of the polling stations especially in the city began on a dull note in most parts of the city and never picked up.
While the city votes poorly, the polling percentage flopped to record lows in the state capital. The polling percentage did not cross the 40 mark.
The special arrangements that the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and State Election Commission claimed to have made simply did not work. Providing tents for shade, water, free transportation for those who needed it, deploying volunteers and creating an app to help voters locate their booths, all left the voters unmoved.
The Chevella Parliamentary constituency recorded a 53.80 per cent turnout this time, marginally over 53.01 per cent in 2014. It topped the 4 city Lok Sabha constituencies, thanks to the Assembly segments including Chevella, Pargi, Vikarabad, and Tandur, which comprise rural populations. While more than 60 per cent of voters exercised their franchise in these segments, very low turnout was observed in urban segments like Maheswaram, Rajendernagar, and Serilingampally.
Voting plunged in the remaining three Lok Sabha constituencies. Hyderabad, which recorded 53.29 per cent turnout in 2014, saw 39.49 per cent voting this time. Secunderabad recorded a 53.01 per cent in 2014 and 39.20 per cent on Thursday. This incidentally is the voting percentage in the state. The Malkajgiri Parliamentary constituency saw a 42.75 per cent turnout, against 50.90 per cent in 2014.
Sources in EC said that besides youngsters, even common voters appeared to have vote in AP as it allows them the chance to vote for Assembly and Lok Sabha candidates. This tacitly backs the theory that lakhs of voters registered in the city also have votes in other places, especially Andhra Pradesh.
They said that the urban voters felt that they had given their verdict by electing a stable government and had no connect with the issues thrown up during the Lok Sabha polls. Sources said that most of the urban voters applied for leave in both private and government organisations immediately after the election notification was issued and this enabled them to take a four-day leave. It was evident through the bus, rail, and flight bookings, which were made when the fares were very cheap.
In the expression of his disappointment, chief electoral officer Rajat Kumar said it was not about the selection of polling day, and that the urban voters lacked individual responsibility. Mr Kumar said that more awareness campaigns were held compared to the Assembly polls but unfortunately even that did not have any impact. He expressed gratitude to the voters who did exercise their franchise.
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