Interesting facts have emerged from a study conducted by the district election department to gauge the reasons behind low voter turnout in certain areas.
Officials have attributed this to the new trend of investment in residential properties in localities like Lulla Nagar, Sahney Sujan Park, Kondhwa and Sahakar Nagar phase II. They added that one of the major causes is that there are many temporary residents here who live in these parts for pursuing education or a career.
Election department representatives are currently in the process of analysing and identifying regions where polling was low, after orders were issued by the state election commission to find 10 per cent such polling booths where the voting ratio was very stunted during the previous assembly and general elections.
The officials said that developing areas in the city echo the same trend as a neighbourhood like Hadapsar, and fear that the story from areas like Hinjewadi, where working population is more, would be similar.
The election commission, under its programme SVEEP (Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation) has for the first time initiated a process to address the issue of voter apathy in the district where turnout during the last general election was only 40.66 per cent. In the 2009 assembly polls, only 45 per cent of the eligible populace voted.
“In other assembly segments like Parvati, Kasba or Kothrud we found familiar reasons like political apathy, dead voters or repeated names of voters responsible for the low turnout. However, this new trend of absence of local voters and presence of temporary residents confused us, as now it would be difficult for us to identify strategies which would increase the voter population in the area,” said Ashok Kamble, naib tehsildar of district election department.
It has also been observed that during the 2009 LS elections, the expected average ratio from Hadapsar assembly segment was 800 voters per polling booth.
However, in reality no more than 300 voters turned up at the booths.
“The only solution to increase the voting percentage is to delete the names of those voters who are not living in the area since the last few years,” said district deputy election officer Apurva Wankhede.
Another answer officials have to this conundrum is to add the names of these temporary citizens in the voters’ registration list here after deleting their names from the lists in their native areas.
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