Amid faulty EVMs and poor facilities, city sees 54% turnout

Amid faulty EVMs and poor facilities, city sees 54% turnout

Family members taking selfie after cast vote at Mahadevapura legislative assembly constituency election at Government Higher Primary School at Hoodi in Bengaluru on Saturday. Photo by S K Dinesh

Barring an attack on a corporator in CV Raman Nagar, polling in 26 Assembly constituencies in Bengaluru on Saturday did not witness any violence. The voter turnout was about 54%.

Notwithstanding the enthusiasm seen in the run-up to the polls, the turnout wasn't a great improvement over the 2013 percentage of 53% for 28 segments. A higher turnout is usually attributed to anti-incumbency but the numbers for the city did not appear to give such an indication.

Polling began slowly in several constituencies such as Dasarahalli, Anekal and Govindarajanagar where less than 10% of voters turned up until noon. At booth number 108 in the Pulakeshinagar segment and at Nivedita School in Bangalore South, polling did not begin until 8 am. The polling booth at RC College (Shivajinagar constituency) had a similar problem.

There was a steady rise in numbers until afternoon. Later, even in places that saw encouraging numbers in the morning, there was hardly any improvement. The evening saw about half of the numbers in almost all the constituencies.

The turnout, however, remained unimpressive. Political campaigns and rallies by high-profile leaders, events by civic organisations like Citizens for Bengaluru, Whitefield Rising and numerous residents' welfare associations had kindled the hope of an increased voter participation. 

Officials deciphering the polling percentage on Saturday night said the turnout could improve by a percentage point. 

At many booths, voters complained of names missing from the electoral rolls though they had valid EPIC cards. Several of them said the arrangements were poor, especially in places that saw power disruptions. At Bagalur, hundreds of voters had lined up to vote at the solitary booth.

Residents' welfare associations of several apartments had arranged to ferry voters to polling booths. There were several instances of people helping the elderly and the disabled enter the polling booth.

Technical problems in electronic voting machines (EVMs) delayed polling by hours at several places. There were allegations in at least one booth in the city that EVMs were registering the vote for only one party. In the Hebbal constituency, faulty EVMs at Lottegollahalli (booth number 158) prompted officials to order repolling on Monday.