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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: To improve turnout, Delhi election office to take RWAs’ help

A list of 100 polling stations across Delhi which recorded low voter turnout in last general elections has been drawn up and shared with the respective district election officers.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 19, 2019 10:51 IST
Vatsala Shrangi
Vatsala Shrangi
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
lok sabha elections 2019,lok sabha polls in delhi,voting in delhi
Most of the polling stations in Delhi with low voter turnout in last Lok Sabha elections are located in urban areas with only a few pockets in rural areas and slum clusters. (PTI / Representative Photo)

Delhi’s state election office has planned to rope in Residents Welfare Associations (RWAs) from across the city to organise voter outreach programmes in areas that recorded low voter turnout in the last general election.

A list of 100 such polling stations has been drawn up and shared with the respective district election officers (DEOs), said officials in Delhi’s chief electoral office (CEO).

According to district election officers (DEOs) most of the polling stations with low voter turnout are located in urban areas with only a few pockets in rural areas and slum clusters.

“We have been organising voter outreach programs in residential complexes and malls with heavy footfall. However, we will be roping in RWAs more actively in all polling locations and entrusting them with the task of creating awareness in their respective areas,” said a senior official.

Some of the polling stations identified with particularly low turnout were located in assembly segments such as Delhi Cantonment, Model Town, Shalimar Bagh, Vikaspuri and Ghonda among others, said officials.

Bakarwala village polling station in West Delhi parliamentary constituency recorded 21.16% turnout. Kamla Nagar’s D-block station falling in Chandni Chowk constituency recorded the lowest turnout at 7.17%. One of the polling stations in Delhi Cantonment area in New Delhi seat comprising areas such as Parade Road, Church Road, Taurus Enclave and Mandir Marg, among others saw only 20.98% turnout. Delhi had recorded a total turnout of 65.07% in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Of the seven parliamentary constituencies in Delhi, Northwest seat had recorded the lowest turnout at 61.66% followed by South Delhi at 62.98%.

“We have been undertaking specific outreach programs along with active RWAs in urban areas to urge maximum participation. Also, we have been using e-rickshaws carrying motivational messages and the ‘democracy on wheels’ truck in each of these localities,” said K Mahesh, district election officer (East).

The election office is also exploring the use of e-rickshaws to ferry people to the polling booths in areas that are difficult to access.

DEO South Nidhi Srivastava, said, “The area largely comprises of upper-middle class voters with some slum clusters. We have been holding programs to attract the urban youth in large numbers. Besides street plays and puppet shows are being held to reach out to people living in clusters such as Dakshinpuri.”

RWAs in some areas are already conducting awareness programmes on their own. In Mehrauli assembly constituency, the local RWA has distributed handbills urging people to come out and vote. “We had printed over a lakh handbills and posters to create awareness. We will be holding a week-long awareness programme ‘Jago Voter Jago’ between May 3 and May 10 along with the district election office to urge people to participate in the festival of democracy in large numbers,” said Sandeep Bali, president, local RWA.

Delhi CEO Ranbir Singh had earlier announced that one of the major focus in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the city will be to increase the overall voter turnout.

The number of polling stations in the city has been increased to 13,816 from 13,418 in 2014 LS elections.

The number of polling locations across the city too has been increased to 2,696 from 2,670 previously.

First Published: Apr 19, 2019 10:51 IST