At 53%, Bengaluru sees low voter count this election | Bengaluru - Hindustan Times
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At 53%, Bengaluru sees low voter count this election

By, Bengaluru
May 11, 2023 01:01 AM IST

According to the latest data of ECI, Bengaluru recorded 52% voter turnout which has been said to be much lower than the polling percentage recorded in the city in 2018 (57%) and 2013 (62%).

Popularly known for its urban voter apathy, Bengaluru recorded 52% turnout on an average, according to the latest data of the Election Commission of India (ECI). This year’s turnout has been estimated to be much lower than the final polling percentage recorded in the city in 2018 (57%) and 2013 (62%).

Bengaluru witnesses low voter turnout in state assembly polls on Wednesday. (ANI)
Bengaluru witnesses low voter turnout in state assembly polls on Wednesday. (ANI)

This year, the total turnout of the state at 5 pm stood at 65.69%. The polling began at 7am for the single-phase Assembly election and ended at 6 pm on Wednesday.

According to the EC data, the polling percentages in Bengaluru were: BBMP (Central) at 55.05%, BBMP (North) at 50.02%, BBMP (South) at 51.59% and Bengaluru Urban at 53.71 %.

While Yelahanka and Yeshwanthpur recorded a voter turnout of 57% and 57.9%, CV Raman Nagar recorded the lowest with 42.10% and BTM Layout with 46.72%.

There are 97.1 lakh voters in Bengaluru, including BBMP Central (17.9 lakh), BBMP North (21.9 lakh), BBMP South (20.5 lakh), and Bengaluru Urban (36.7 lakh).

In order to attract urban voters in the IT city, the BBMP has set up 264 theme-based polling booths. The themes included youth, pink, environment, science and technology, sports among others.

However, the city saw a poor voter turnout compared to the previous elections. The EC was hoping to achieve a polling percentage of 75% in Karnataka and 65-70% in Bengaluru. The state government had also declared a paid holiday for all employees on polling day. It had also conducted several awareness drives through walkathons, street plays and campaigns.

After the EC received several complaints that IT/BT companies based in Bengaluru had not announced leave for the employees to vote on May 10, the BBMP had warned of action against private companies that fail to provide leave to employees.

Prof MN Sreehari, who is an infrastructure advisor and expert, expressed disappointment at the poor performance of polling in Bengaluru and said, “The same IT/ Bengaluru urban people only comment on infrastructure and its inadequacy while blaming elected representatives.”

“Shame on Bangaloreans for this poor performance of voting, being an IT and intellectual capital of India. Around 50% is really miserable. It may be due to a holiday for people not to vote but to tour or stay at home without voting is not okay. Next election, the government should not give a holiday and on the other hand, booths should be opened at all offices,” Sreehari added.

The city, however, saw brisk voting pattern in the initial hours of polling with some bigwigs coming out to cast their votes. Infosys co-founder NR Narayana Murthy and Sudha Murthy cast their votes early Wednesday morning at Jayanagar in Bengaluru.

“First, we vote and then we say this is good and this is not good. But if we don’t do that, then we have no rights to criticise,” the 76-year-old said after exercising his franchise.

Urging people to come out and vote, Sudha Murty, an author-philanthropist, said: “I will not ask you who you will vote for or why you vote, because everyone has their own opinion and decision, but everyone should vote. We vote in every election.”

On people who go out without voting, she said, “I can only say those who don’t have patriotism, do such things. Get up early, first vote and then go anywhere you want.”

Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, also voted in Bengaluru. While casting her vote, Sitharaman referred to Congress promising to ban right-wing outfit Bajrang Dal in its manifesto, as a prime example of stupidity. She noted that, for the Congress party, it was merely an election issue.

“We always respect Bajrang Bali and read Hanuman Chalisa. But, for the Congress, it is an election issue. Karnataka is the birthplace of Hanuman ji. And they wrote it in the manifesto. Bewakoofi ka udaharan...” Sitharaman said.

Karnataka chief electoral officer Manoj Kumar Meena and district electoral officer and chief of Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Tushar Girinath also cast their ballot in the early hours of Wednesday in Bengaluru.

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