Reported By: Nivedita Singh
Edited By: Oindrila Mukherjee
Last Updated: March 29, 2023, 22:57 IST
CEC Rajiv Kumar said urban apathy is a cause for concern as four districts in India’s IT hub had the lowest voter turnout in 2013 and 2018 Karnataka assembly elections, much less than the state average. (Image: Reuters/File)
CEC Rajiv Kumar said if polling was on Monday or Friday, people would have clubbed it with weekend and, if it were a Tuesday or Thursday, it would still be possible to turn it into a mini holiday
To fight urban apathy on polling day, the Election Commission of India decided to hold the Karnataka assembly elections in the middle of the week so that voters cannot club this leave to make it a “long weekend”. The state goes to polls on May 10 while the counting of votes will take place on May 13.
Speaking to the media after announcing the polls in the state, chief election commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said had the polling been scheduled for a Monday or a Friday, people would have clubbed it with the weekend. If it were a Tuesday or a Thursday, it would still be possible to turn it into a mini holiday and people would have left town, he added.
“Now, the polling is on Wednesday and, for that, they have to take two leaves at least… This is what we have done in Karnataka. I am sure people will not sleep in and step out to vote,” Kumar said.
The CEC further said what is important is that the issue of urban apathy is being talked about and questions are being raised. “We are also acting boldly and issuing the list of regions that are reporting low voter turnout. The aim is that the voter will come out in larger numbers. We are expecting results,” he added.
Sharing the status of urban apathy in Karnataka, the CEC said in 2013, the average voter turnout for the state was 71.83 percent. However, in South, North and Central Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), it was less than 60 percent each while in Bengaluru Urban it was 62.03 percent.
In 2018, the situation worsened. Against the average voter turnout of 72.44 percent for the state, the three BBMP regions reported less than 55 percent voting while for Bengaluru Urban it was 57 percent. “Urban apathy is a cause for concern. These four districts in India’s IT hub had the lowest voter turnout in 2013 and 2018 Karnataka assembly elections, much less than the state average. 88 percent of the polling stations in these four districts are in urban areas,” he added.
The poll body has also ensured participation from each and every section of society with special focus on inclusive and participatory elections. Electors in the category of ‘people with disabilities’ (PwD) have reported a jump of 2.5 times – from 2.15 lakh in 2018 to 5.55 lakh in 2023.
“All arrangements will be made at the polling station for convenience of senior citizens and PwD voters. For the first time, a home voting facility is also there in Karnataka for 12.15 lakh senior citizens above the age of 80 years and 5.55 lakh benchmarked PwD voters,” Kumar said.
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Nivedita SinghNivedita Singh is a data journalist and covers the Election Commission, Indian Railways and Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. She has nearly se…Read More