Is this an ominous sign of things to come?
In a bid to encourage middle and upper middle-class voters to go out and vote in the municipal elections on February 16, the State Election Commission (SEC) had proposed that voting booths be set up in housing societies. The response? Out of a total of 150 societies approached, only 28 have agreed.
Civic chief Subodh Kumar announced on Monday that polling booths would now be set up in these 28 societies.
The polling booths are meant exclusively for the residents of the respective societies, and only societies with more than 1,000 residents were approached. The idea, officials said, was prompted by two factors. The first was to make it easier for people to go out and vote, while the second was to ensure compliance with the SEC's directives to have more polling booths on the ground floor.
Activists, however, are not reading too much into the poor response by housing societies. Sharad Kumar, trustee, AGNI, an NGO that has been actively promoting responsible voting, said: "More than it being an indicator of voter enthusiasm, there are issues of logistics involved here. We tried finding out the reason behind the lack of response, and found that most societies don't want to face the chaos associated with having a polling booth in their premises, be it the crowds or even the security."
The voter turnout in the 2007 BMC elections was an abysmal 46.05%.