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Urban Gurgaon unfazed by polls

india Updated: May 04, 2009 01:01 IST
Ritika Chopra
Ritika Chopra
Hindustan Times
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She may have lived in Gurgaon for two years, but Shubhra Mathur isn’t convinced she belongs there.

“I don’t see myself settling down here and may be that's why the politics of this place doesn’t interest me. I do have a voter's ID card back home in Punjab, but I haven't felt the urge to get myself registered here,” said the 26-year-old who works with an MNC in Gurgaon.

So, come May 7, Mathur will not head for the nearest polling booth, but hang out with her friends instead.

The sentiment is not an aberration, but finds an echo among young residents of urban Gurgaon. Even as several MNCs in New Delhi have declared May 7 a holiday, most of the Millennium City crowd will not get itself inked for the lack of a sense of belonging.

So, after it registered an abysmal turnout of 9 to 10 per cent last assembly election, Gurgaon might, after May 7, justifiably earn another epithet — land of Pappus.

Colonel Ratan Singh, who contested during assembly elections in 2005 from a residents-backed party (Gurgaon Residents Party) and lost, attributes the lack of interest to mobile nature of new Gurgaon’s population.

“I was persuaded to contest the elections by the educated and upwardly-mobile residents themselves. But on the day of polling, barely 9 to 10 per cent of the voters turned up to cast their ballot,” said Singh, who could secure only about 6,000 votes from new Gurgaon.

“The problem is that most residents here are not originally from Gurgaon. They have come here from different parts of the country to work with some of the best companies. But, they are not attached to the city,” he added.

But it’s not as if the young lot is completely disinterested in politics. In fact, many are registered voters back in their hometown.

Abhishek Bharti (25) keenly follows the politics back home, that is, Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, he even went back to Jammu to cast his vote in the first phase of polling.

“I’d rather exercise my franchise where I know it’s really needed. I took leave from office and went back to vote. My office was pretty supportive of my decision,” said Bharti.

The apathy has consequently led to politicians giving the area a cold shoulder. Unlike the Capital, it doesn't even feel like election time in Gurgaon. Political campaigns are conspicuous by their absence.

“I keep travelling to Delhi over the weekend and the contrast is sharp. There’s absolutely nothing happening here. In fact, it doesn’t feel like election time in this part of the constituency at least. But I can’t blame politicians for we don”t turn up on the polling day,” said Kamyani Chopra (27), who has lived in Gurgaon for six years.