MCD elections: Posh neighbourhoods turned up in lower numbers, but it’s not why you think
Studies of voting patterns have found that, across the country, rural voters tend to turn up to vote in higher percentages than residents of crowded metro areas.delhi Updated: Apr 25, 2017 18:39 IST
Voters on Delhi’s outskirts were more likely to cast ballots in the city’s municipal corporation elections than their inner-city counterparts, according to HT’s analysis of voter turnout data.
“This is not at all surprising,” said Sanjay Kumar, director at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, a leading think tank. Kumar’s studies of voting patterns have found that, across the country, rural voters tend to turn up to vote in higher percentages than residents of crowded metro areas.
Voters in the city’s posh south Delhi wards were the least likely to vote. But that’s not because rich and middle-class people don’t vote, Kumar said.
Another possible explanation? Poor urban voters, many of whom work in industries that service the wealthy, don’t get time off from work — even on Sundays, the day the election was held.
“All kinds of people don’t get leave,” Kumar said. “They actually have to take a formal leave, for which their salary would be cut. This is a big reason for lower turnout of the poor.”
The Election Commission has formally declared that all voters are entitled to election day holidays so that they can make it to the polls.
The voter turnout in the posh neighbourhoods of the national capital remained low during Sunday’s municipal corporation elections even as the numbers were better than the 2012 municipal elections.
South Delhi’s Greater Kailash-I, which in the last polls had seen the lowest turnout (37.3%), gained by more than five percentage points this time with the ward registering 42.44% votes.
Despite the sweltering heat, people in other posh colonies too stepped out of their homes to vote. Vasant Kunj, for example, also set a positive example by casting 45.18% votes compared to 39.43% in 2012.
Back in the 2007 civic polls, the ward had seen only 25% voter turnout.
Vasant Vihar also saw an increase of 3.38 percentage points with 43.3% people coming out to vote. While all these constituencies probably have seen the highest ever turnout, they still remained way below the city average of 54-55% during the last two civic polls.