Despite the wounds of last June’s cloudburst still fresh in the memories of the people, the electorate of Chamoli and Rudraprayag district came out to vote with enthusiasm, and increased the voting percentage by over 5% since the last parliamentary election of 2009.
Voters hold up their ink-marked finger after casting their ballot at a polling station in Dehradun. (HT photo/Rishi Ballabh)
Though the overall increase in polling for the Garhwal parliamentary seat is 5.2 %, yet the greatest surge came from the assembly constituencies situated in the planes. Ramnagar and Kotdwar assembly constituencies witnessed 66% voter turnout.
Though 52% polling is by no means an achievement in the hill districts of Pauri, Tehri, Chamoli and Rudraprayag under the Garhwal parliamentary constituency, the political experts feel that the actual figure is much more than that is shown.
Despite the good turnout at the polling booths in the hills, the overall polling percentage comes down because of certain anomalies in the electoral rolls. Due to massive urbanisation in the hilly areas, many people have migrated to other places and got themselves registered in the electoral lists there.
However, their names still appear on the electorate list of their native place. For example, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank, the former chief minister and BJP candidate from Haridwar Lok Sabha seat, cast his vote at Dehradun for Tehri parliamentary elections, while his name also appeared at DAV Inter college booth at Pauri.
However, this is not a lone case. There are many more who have not withdrawn their names from the electoral rolls, even after getting themselves registered at other places, said Tribhuvan Uniyal, a senior journalist from Pauri. He added that such bogus cases bring the figure of pole percentage down.
Reports have come from many places where voters could not exercise their franchise as their names were missing from the electoral list, and such cases have also contributed to the lowering of the poll percentage. However, it is interesting to note that the number of female voters in the six legislative assemblies in Pauri district was more than the male voters by 20,460 votes.
The youth voters, who had come to cast their vote in large numbers, would also influence the results of Garhwal parliamentary elections effectively. There were 37,534 voters in the age group of 18-19 and 3,37,002 in the age group of 20-29 in all the 14 assembly seats under Garhwal constituency.