Poll pundits say aware voters pushed turnout to record high | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Poll pundits say aware voters pushed turnout to record high

The highest voter turnout in the past four MCD elections in Delhi may have the incumbents in the civic body worried but poll analysts have pointed out that it could also been seen in terms of the increasing interest of the people in political activity.

delhi Updated: Apr 17, 2012 01:11 IST
Atul Mathur

The highest voter turnout in the past four MCD elections in Delhi may have the incumbents in the civic body worried but poll analysts have pointed out that it could also been seen in terms of the increasing interest of the people in political activity.

Delhi registered a voter turnout 55% in this election. In a positive deviation from the past, a large number of south Delhi colonies that voted between 23 and 35 per cent in 2007 registered an increase of 5% to 15% polling this year.

The turnout recorded an increase of 5-7 per cent in a number of middle-class, government colonies. The unauthorised colonies and villages registered an increase of 10-15 per cent in voter turnout.

"I am not surprised with the high turnout this year. The quality of electoral rolls that election office prepares is much better now. Earlier, there used to be 8-10 per cent ghost voters who would obviously never come out and vote. The voting percentage thus would always remain low. But things have changed since assembly elections in various states in 2008," said Sanjay Kumar, fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).

According to Kumar, the higher voter turnout cannot conclusively be attributed to strong anti-incumbency factor.

He said the state governments in Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Bihar, and more recently in Manipur and Punjab would not have returned to power if higher voter turnout meant anti-incumbency.

In Delhi, however, there was a visible under-current against both the BJP, currently in power in MCD, and the Congress, which is in power in Delhi and at the Centre.

The electorate came out in hordes and voted for local issues such as poor sanitation, bad roads and parking as well as larger issues such as corruption and price rise and even law and order situation, over which the MCD has no jurisdiction.

Senior leaders of both the parties admitted that smaller parties and independent candidates may fare much better this time.

"We want a change. There is a need for a fresh breed of leaders," said Raja Ram, a 72-year-old voter, who came with his family of six members to vote on Sunday in east Delhi's Gokalpur area.