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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Lucknow: Lacklustre response to civic polls, 37.57% turnout

No enthusiasm- Polling started on a slow note and did not pick up throughout the day

lucknow Updated: Nov 27, 2017 12:53 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Voters queued up at a polling booth in LDA colony,Kanpur road.
Voters queued up at a polling booth in LDA colony,Kanpur road.(Subhankar Chakraborty/HT Photo)

Despite the campaign blitzkrieg for the civic elections, voters of the state capital did not appear enthusiastic on the polling day on Sunday.

Lucknowites virtually said ‘no’ to franchise, with only 38.66% casting their vote. In the last civic polls in 2012, voter turnout was 34%.

In the three-phase civic polls, voter turnout was 49% in the first phase of polling on November 22. Voting for the last phase is scheduled on November 29.

Just eight months back in March this year, during the assembly polls, voting percentage in Lucknow was 58.45%-- a good turnout. Barely eight months later, the voters seemed disenchanted.

In the 2014 general election, voter turnout in the state capital was 53.02%, an increase of 17.69% from 35.33% in 2009.

But the civic poll saw only a marginal increase of four percent in turnout as compared to the 2012 municipal elections.

Polling started on a slow note and did not pick up throughout the day. People simply refused to come out of their houses to exercise their right to vote.

In stark contrast to the low turnout of voters, campaigning for these civic polls was the most high-voltage till date. Not only did the ruling BJP take the civic polls seriously, even the opposition went all out to mobilize voters.

This was the first time the Bahujan Samaj Party fielded its candidates in civic polls on the party symbol- elephant. The BSP had always refrained from contesting civic polls proactively as they are considered purely urban centric elections.

The Samajwadi Party also pulled out all resources to make a come- back in UP politics by seriously contesting civic polls. For the Aam Aadmi Party, these civic polls were a battle for political survival in the state.

With stakes high, all parties had launched a high-profile campaigning. Chief minister Yogi Adityanath himself led the BJP’s campaign by addressing public meetings not only in the state capital but all over the state.

“Such a low turnout in civic polls was not expected. Just eight months ago in assembly polls people came out in large numbers to cast their votes,” said Vijay Narain, a Varanasi-based socialist leader.

“But poll percentage in civic elections has always been low. Low turnout does not mean that voters are disenchanted with the electoral process,” he added.

First Published: Nov 27, 2017 12:53 IST