Ghaziabad civic polls: Low voter turnout in trans-Hindon areas

Residents of high-rises said most of them could not vote as their names were missing from the list and also due to other alleged irregularities on the voters’ list.

noida Updated: Nov 26, 2017 23:22 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal
Peeyush Khandelwal
Hindustan Times
Ghaziabad,civic polls,Phase-2
The voter turnout for the Ghaziabad municipal corporation was recorded at 35.4%, estimated around 3.30pm on Sunday. (Peeyush Khandelwal/HT Photo)

The city areas, especially the trans-Hindon region, recorded an unexpected low voter turnout in the civic body polls on Sunday.

Residents of high-rises said most of them could not vote as their names were missing from the list and also due to other alleged irregularities on the voters’ list.

The voter turnout for the Ghaziabad municipal corporation was recorded at 35.4%, estimated around 3.30pm on Sunday.

There was no queue at any of the polling centres in Indirapuram, Kaushambi and Sahibabad, unlike the recently held assembly elections.

For Ward 98 in Ahimsa Khand of Indirapuram, there are only 5,542 voters despite the area housing around 90,000 people in 32 high-rises.

“According to our polling agents and assessment, only 35% polling could take place. We had gone door-to-door (to canvass votes) for our candidate but people did not in expected numbers,” said Alok Kumar, president of the federation of apartment owners’ association (FED-AOA).

RWA members in Kaushambi said that low voter turnout posed issues for them as they had worked hard to field their candidates against political parties, but few residents came out to vote.

“As per our assessment, only 4,062 of 16,114 people in Ward 72 of Kaushambi voted. Long queues were seen at booths of polling agents but people went away as their names were not on the voters’ list. We estimate that nearly 70% of voters were missing from the list and we have already given a complaint to the district magistrate,” said VK Mittal, president of Kaushambi Apartment Residents’ Welfare Association (Karwa).

Residents said that the voters’ list was not properly updated.

“The majority of issues voters faced was that their names were missing from the list and they returned home. There have been instances wherein people have also been residing here but the voters’ list was not properly updated,” said Anuradha Srivastava, a resident of Shipra Sun City.

Another voter, Surajit Dey, said that duplicate entries made it hard for him and his family to cast their votes.

“My name was duplicated on the list. I could only vote after a lot of deliberations and voted on one serial number. Likewise, all five family members also had duplicate names on different serial numbers appearing on the list,” he said.

DPS Indirapuram and DPS, Indirapuram at Ahimsa Khand, unlike previous elections, did not have long queues. A similar situation was witnessed at Barat Ghar in Kaushambi.

Due to the low voter turnout, candidates fielded by RWAs were a worried lot as they had put in hard work but many residents did not and in many cases, could not, vote.

“The list is not properly updated and revised. Missing and duplicate names have restricted people from voting and it will jeopardise the prospects of independent candidates,” said Sumitra Rauthan, an independent candidate from Ward 100 of Indirapuram.

Residents of Indirapuram also alleged that names of ghost voters appeared on the list, in high-rises such as ATS Advantage.

“We asked the polling booth officials to verify the IDs of certain people who came to vote but the officials said that they cannot conduct the process of verification. Instead, they said that if any fake person has come to vote, the polling agents of parties should raise an objection,” said Shaili Singh, an independent candidate supported by FED-AOA.

District election officer Ritu Maheshwari said she will order an inquiry as complaints had also come from trans-Hindon about the alleged irregularities in voters’ list. “An inquiry will be initiated soon and action will be taken against erring block-level staff and even senior officers if there are major discrepancies as alleged,” she said.

First Published: Nov 26, 2017 23:22 IST