Contrary to their image, south Delhi residents came out in large numbers to vote in this MCD elections. As compared to last municipal elections in 2007 when their voting percentage hovered between 25 and 35 per cent, this time round it managed to cross the 50 per cent mark in quite a few areas.
According to the Delhi state election commission, 53 per cent people voted for the South Delhi Municipal Corporation, a rise of nearly 15 to 20 per cent.
Take for instance Anand Niketan, where only 27.18 per cent people had voted in 2007. But this time, the voter percentage stood at 47.08 — a rise of 20 per cent.
In Vasant Kunj too, voters turned out in large numbers, taking the total percentage to 39.43, in comparison to 25.2 per cent in 2007, the lowest in those polls.
“Many people used the extended weekend to go on a holiday. This affected the voter turnout. We had expected a bigger number, but are still satisfied with the fact that the percentage has risen,” said Ajay Sood, president of Anand Niketan resident welfare association.
But despite this rise, south Delhi continues to be an area where people would rather not vote. Areas such as Greater Kailash I, Kailash Colony, Saket reported one of the lowest voter turnouts this election.
The state election commission said that it will try to analyse the weak points and what more needs to be done.
“Though south Delhi figures last in terms of the voting percentage, but if you compare it to the last MCD elections,
the voter percentage has improved quite a bit. People have become more aware. The percentage in some south Delhi areas has seen a rise of more than 15 per cent,” said Rakesh Mehta, Delhi state election commissioner.
“But a lot still needs to be done. We were hoping that the overall percentage would cross the 60 per cent mark, but due to the average performance of south Delhi colonies, we couldn’t achieve that,” he added.
South Delhi has always been a grey area for the state election commission as residents of these colonies usually hesitate in exercising their franchise. This time, the state election body had specially targeted south Delhi with initiatives such as ‘Be Dabangg, Be a voter’ to exhort voters to turn out in large numbers to vote. The RWAs too played their part in sensitising people.
A number of south Delhi residents have been complaining that their areas have become heavily commercialised and are being ignored by area councillors who prefer to concentrate only on those areas which make up their vote banks.
“Sometimes we have to even fight for parking space. It gets ugly at times. A reason why councillors ignore us is that we only have 1,500-2,000 votes whereas areas such as Sangam Vihar and Govinduri have more than 10,000 voters. We want them to take note of us too,” said Punit Arora, a resident of Kalkaji.
The social networking also helped create a buzz about the municipal elections as a number of special pages had been created on websites such as Facebook and Twitter.