Dehradun: Although the overall percentage of voter turnout saw a considerable increase this time, what is interesting to note is that the voting pattern varied in each region. The trend gives political parties a chance to evaluate the situation in their own way. The high turnout is usually seen as an indicator for change. The state this time registered 68% polling, around 2% more than the 2012 polls.
The micro picture, however, gives another insight. For instance, the polling percentage in Dehradun district stand at 63.76%, little less than what it was in 2012. In Kumaon region, too, the turnout was less than what it was in the last polls. The plain areas — Haridwar and Udham Singh Nagar — on the other hand, recorded more than 70% turnout. Pauri and Nainital districts recorded 52% and 53% poll percentage respectively.
Interestingly, in Ranikhet, where leader of Opposition Ajay Bhatt contested against Karan Mehra of Congress, the turnout touched 50%. Similarly, in Chaubattakhal, where Satpaj Maharaj gave Congress candidate Rajpal Singh Bisht a tough fight, the poll percentage was 48.33.
“We expected the polling to cross over 60%, still I am hopeful that people voted for a change,” Ajay Bhatt said.
The Almora and Pauri districts, in particular, witnessed a low turnout. These two districts had also witnessed massive migration from its villages in the last few years, which the poll experts feel could be a reason for the low turnout.
Ramji Sharan Sharma, deputy district election officer (Pauri), observed that there was fall in polling percentage as a number of electorates were not physically present in their respective constituencies.
Keeping in view the low polling percentage in the hills, the postal ballots of defense personnel, too, have assumed importance.
Twenty thousand postal ballots, the highest-ever in the state, were issued in Pauri district and those can definitely play a decisive role on March 11. The BJP is hopeful that these votes will be a game-changer in case of a close contest.
High turnout was mainly observed in three districts – Uttarkashi, US Nagar and Haridwar. The Congress is hoping to gain in the plains of state. Haridwar (rural), Peeran Kaliyar and Laksar recorded over 80% polling.
Chief Minister Harish Rawat is contesting from Haridwar (rural) seat against BJP’s Swami Yatiswaranand. In US Nagar district, the voting turnout was equally high. In Khatima seat, too, it was over 80%.