KALABURAGI: The rejection of a very high percentage of votes as invalid in the just concluded election to the Upper House from the North East Gradutes’ Constituency has raised serious doubts about the awareness among voters in the region about how to cast their votes. Of the total 82, 254 votes in the graduates constituency as many as 55, 437 voters exercised their franchise. Of these votes, as many as 6,583 votes were rejected as they were found to be invalid. This means nearly nine per cent of voters did not cast their votes in the manner required.
What is more worrisome is that this high rejection of votes took place due to the folly committed by the educated class which include teachers, lecturers, engineers, doctors and other graduates. According to well placed sources, these votes were rejected as the voters put ‘yes’ or the ‘Right’ mark before the names of the candidate they wanted to vote for. In some cases, the voters have put their signatures before the names of the candidates. As there is a preferential voting system in this election, the voters should have put the numbers one (1), two (2) and three (3) indicating their preference before the candidates’ names.
“As many voters have not put the numbers, but put the ‘yes’ mark or signature , the votes have been rendered invalid and hence rejected”, said a senior officer. This high percentage of rejection of votes has raised serious doubts about awareness among the educated class about the voting system. This even prompted senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge to express his displeasure. “It is not surprising if illiterate voters fail to properly cast their votes. But the education class, that too graduates casting their votes in an improper manner in such high percentage is a matter of great concern and highly disappointing.”, Mr Kharge said while addressing a function at Bidar.
It has now been revealed that of the 6,583 votes rejected, nearly 4,000 votes were cast in favour of the JD(S) candidate N Prathap Reddy. It is being argued that due to the rejection of a high percentage of votes, none of the three candidates who were in the race, were able to secure first preference votes. Reacting to the outcome Mr Prathap Reddy said, “I lost mainly due to the rejection of invalid votes as the educated class did not properly exercise their franchise. Of the over 6,500 invalid votes, I should have got over 4,000 votes. I feel there is a big need to educate voters on how to cast their votes”, he added....