Lok Sabha Elections 2019: New Delhi assembly segment records second lowest voter turnout
Only 52.58% voters in the New Delhi assembly constituency exercised their franchise on Sunday. Overall, New Delhi Lok Sabha seat, which comprises 10 assembly segments, saw a turnout 56.91%, which was 8.2 percentage points lower than the turnout in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.Updated: May 14, 2019 10:45 IST
The Delhi Cantonment and New Delhi assembly segments, which come under the New Delhi parliamentary constituency, recorded the lowest voter turnout of all the 70 assembly segments in the national capital’s seven Lok Sabha constituencies that voted on Sunday.
Only 52.58% of the 1.43 lakh voters in the New Delhi assembly constituency exercised their franchise on Sunday. Overall, New Delhi Lok Sabha seat, which comprises 10 assembly segments, saw a turnout 56.91%, which was 8.2 percentage points lower than the turnout in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
In Delhi Cantt assembly segment, the turnout was even lower at 42.13%.
Delhi Cantonment MLA Surender Singh ascribed the low turnout to the fact that a large number of voters in the assembly constituency are armed forces officials. “Many voters are armed forces officials who have been transferred out of Delhi recently but their names still exist in the last updated electoral rolls. They did not vote,” he said. Delhi Cantt had 1.23 lakh voters.
Government employees make up the majority of the New Delhi assembly seat’s population. The assembly segment saw a decline of 13.14 percentage points in the voter turnout compared to the 2014 general elections. Residents of the area said one of the reasons for low turnout could be the relocation of government employees from Sarojini Nagar. The area was one of the seven government colonies identified by the Centre where the old quarters were to make way for 25,000 new flats.
“While helping people cast their votes on Sunday, I found that 2-3 polling booths in our area had extremely low voter turnout. Most people who used to live in the Sarojini Nagar quarters did not come to vote. I met two family friends who came to the polling booth to cast their vote. They used to live in the quarters and were relocated to Rohini in early 2018,” said Onkar Ojha, general secretary of Palika Awas RWA and whose government colony shares the boundary wall with the now deserted Sarojini Nagar colony.
It was same story in Delhi Cantt. “In Netaji Nagar, people started moving out in 2017 under the central government redevelopment plan. Thousands of people who have left the area are still registered as voters in Delhi Cantonment,” he said.
But, of all the 10 assembly constituencies falling in the New Delhi Lok Sabha seat, the posh Greater Kailash segment performed the best with 61.07% votes polled, while the neighbouring Kasturba Nagar, which comprises Defence Colony, saw the second highest turnout at 60.46%.
“The RWAs actively worked to bring out residents to vote on Sunday. They personally called up the residents and sent SMSes, urging them to cast their votes,” said Rohit Chopra, a resident of GK-II M-Block.
Sitting MP and BJP candidate from the seat, Meenakshi Lekhi said the low voter turnout in the Lok Sabha segment was because of holidays in schools. “Government employees have gone for vacations with family because several schools are shut. Also, those living in the constituency’s urban villages usually visit their home town during summers,” she said.
“The turnout only means that the AAP and Congress, which had a secret pact in this election, are being wiped out,” the MP added.
Aam Aadmi Party’s candidate Brijesh Goyal, however, said the turnout points out to the contrary. “Only the hardcore BJP voters have voted for the saffron party this time. Others, who had voted for the BJP during the Modi wave in the 2014 election, did not come out to vote on Sunday. So, this has worked in AAP’s favour,” he said.