Nearly half of city's voters stay away from poll booths

Voter turnout dips from 52.5 per cent in 2007 PMC election to 51 per cent

The PMC election ended yesterday with a low turnout of 51 per cent. The poll percentage dipped one-and-a-half percentage points from 52.5 per cent in the 2007 election, hinting at the waning interest of the electorate towards exercising their franchise.

Sundarabai Marathe School
Deserted: An empty polling booth at Sundarabai Marathe School, old
Mundhwa Road. Pic/Krunal Gosavi

Despite all government offices, educational institutions and private establishments declaring the day a public holiday, voters were hardly to be seen at polling booths across the city. Till 3.30 pm, merely 37 per cent polling had happened.

While the upwardly mobile and youth showed lukewarm interest in voting, differently abled and senior citizens made a beeline for the polling stations. But voters' waning interest in exercising their ballot power was not the only reason that contributed to low turnout, goof-ups in the voters' lists and confusing panel system further discouraged genuine voters many of whom returned home in disappointment without casting votes.
Bhalchandra Natu, who has been living in Kothrud from 1999, said he did not get their voter ID so he could not vote.

Haffisa Khan of Rasta Peth said her photo was replaced with her husbands picture in the voters' list so she was debarred from voting. The newly introduced panel system also added to voter woes. "Since morning I have hardly seen any queue in this polling booth," said the polling booth officer in Viman Nagar area. Polling happened around 2,996 booths in the city.

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